Westover agrees to annex, provide water along 280

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Westover Town Council recently approved an annexation agreement to annex and provide water for eight parcels of land along U.S. Highway 280 near County Road 51.

The agreement and related annexations opposed by Councilmember Susan Strickland call for the town to furnish public water service along the Highway 280 frontage of the property &8220;no later than the time such property is developed for use, but no sooner than six month from the date such property is annexed.&8221;

If water service is not provided, the town would de-annex the property upon the written request of the owner.

The owners of the parcels were listed as Robert Kelley and Geralee Kelley, Larry R. and Darlene C. Kelley, Cynthia K. McKinney, Michael G. Kelley, Davida K. Moore, Ronald T. Kelley and Larry R. Kelley.

Previously, the council voted 5-1 to seek a grant or loan for water line expansion with Councilmember Strickland again casting the lone &8220;no&8221; vote.

It was indicated that the purpose of the action would be to expand water lines to accommodate fire hydrants. The council carried over the vote for the related annexations.

Strickland, who opposed seeking the funds at that time said, &8220;I am not, nor are any of the citizens that I have spoken with, against upgrading the water system and putting in fire hydrants,&8221; said Strickland.

&8220;What we are against is putting the town in debt for 30 to 40 years to bribe these landowners to annex into the town. These landowners do not even live in Westover. If they wanted to become part of the town, then why can&8217;t they do it willingly and without bribery.

&8220;The citizens would welcome them with open arms. It just appears that the mayor and council are trying to slip something else by the citizens.&8221;

Following the council&8217;s Dec. 20 vote, Strickland said, &8220;I just think we shouldn&8217;t put the town in debt to get people to (annex).&8221;

She said the town would receive tax revenues from those properties if they were developed anyway because they are located within the police jurisdiction.

She explained she was in favor of one annexation near a church for Frank and Edwina Chappell because it was not part of the water agreement.

Westover Mayor Mark McLaughlin noted that the town&8217;s comprehensive plan identified rural utility service grants and loans as sources for construction, expansion or improving rural water and waste disposal systems.

He also pointed out that listed as opportunities for the town in its comprehensive plan were &8220;Water and sewer on Highway 280 to attract development&8221; and to &8220;Use commercial growth on Highway 280 to generate taxes for local improvements.&8221;

Under the heading of services and facilities, the comprehensive plan states, &8220;Plan and implement the phased construction of a cost effective sewer system to serve future growth areas as identified in the Town Plan and to serve existing developed areas as needed.

&8220;Coordinate with and support continued improvements to the Westover Water Authority to ensure availability to existing and future developments.&8221;

The mayor said the areas to be annexed and proposed water expansion are weak areas in the town&8217;s water system at this time.

&8220;We will start where the need is greatest with the goal of reaching the entire town,&8221; McLaughlins said.

He also said the town would work with the water authority and the fire department to identify where the expansion and improvements should go.

An annexation for John E. and Martha Shelton was carried over to the next meeting