Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Annexation Shouldn't Mean Alienation - 9-9-09 Mahomet Citizen Editorial

Among the issues that have surfaced over the recent weeks in the town of Mahomet has been the desire of many area residents to not be annexed into the village limits.

Their feelings are so adamant that they have rallied together to confront the village administration about possible plans to bring them into the village using forced annexation (annexing a property that is surrounded on at least three sides by village property or property within the village limits).

They have petitioned and they have spoken, as well as emailed their concerns, taking full advantage of their rights to free speech.

However, that still does not address the issue at hand, which is, should their request to remain unannexed be honored? Or should they come to terms with thought of being part of the village of Mahomet?

On the one hand, you have residents who moved to Mahomet and purchased the properties that they did because it wasn’t in the village and they could take advantage of the property as such (no leaf burning, no village taxes, independent water and sewer, etc).

Many individuals at the village meetings contended that had they known they would have been annexed, they would not have purchased their properties for the very aforementioned reasons.
In short, if they wanted to be part of the village, they would have purchased property within the village.

On the other hand, however, you have the village, which is contending that bringing these previously unannexed properties into the village limits will bring with it a unity that a community such as ours needs to thrive.

Additionally, what about the people living in the village limits who live - at times - directly across from those who do not? They pay village taxes while people who are sometimes a matter of feet away pay nothing yet receive the advantages of village services like snow removal.

Then you have the schools, which are arguably one of the most important aspects of this community. They send their students to the schools (as they should) but don’t aid in maintaining them with their property taxes.

It isn’t just about the money, either. Perhaps there is an issue that is to be added to the next election ballot that could have major implications to all residents - village and non. Non-village residents are encouraged to lobby for their own particular point of view and get support from voting members of the village, but if they are given the opportunity themselves to become voting members, they would rather not.

It’s easy to be content in a place that you call your own, especially when you don’t have to deal with the interference of outside sources.

But how much of an interference is it really to have the village that you are benefiting from telling you that they want to make you part of that community and they want you to be part of a village that is whole, not scattered in pieces.

If it’s the tax issue, let’s be honest, no one wants to pay taxes, especially if they’re being added onto what we already pay. However, there comes a point when responsibility falls upon us to do what is necessary, even in cases when we would otherwise disagree completely.

Perhaps it’s the rules that would have to be followed once becoming part of the village that leave a bad taste in so many mouths. The burning issue itself is something that has caused a stir in this regard, leading many people - both village residents and non - to express their continued outrage with the process. However, like many changes, this too will require some adjustment that we are all very capable of making.

Whatever the case may be, there may be many people against the idea of being annexed into the village of Mahomet, but from what it ultimately boils down to is taking the time to be a complete citizen of this town and that means taking the good with the bad and acknowledging responsibilities that have been laid before us.

With as much contempt as the issue has been met with thus far, the result will be a village that epitomizes its title and the essence of what we often call it: A community.

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