By CHRISTIN COYNE
ANNETTA – A month after Town of Annetta voters elected a slate of candidates who voiced support for annexation, the city council took the first steps Thursday night toward an annexation that could nearly double the city’s population.
Responding to the second official request in the past year from neighboring residents served by Annetta’s water and sewer systems, the council voted to hold public hearings on the issue next month and take other legal steps necessary to vote on annexation in upcoming weeks.
A total of 506 voters in the petitioning area, or an average of 61 percent of registered voters, signed the three petitions, Mayor Bruce Pinckard told the council Thursday night.
Pinckard said he received a fourth petition in support of the annexation petition signed by 77 Annetta residents.
The areas included in the petitions are the Deer Creek Plantation residents served by the city water system but not within city limits, as well as the adjacent Meadow Park area also served by the city’s Deer Creek water system.
The areas were split into three petitions due to requirements that an annexation can not include more than a half-mile at a time, Pinckard said.
Annetta also reached an agreement with Annetta South to release for annexation the Town of Annetta-owned property at Thunderhead Lane and Farm-to-Market Road 5, Pinckard said.
Pinckard believes at least 700 homes, possibly as many as 750 households, are included in the total area.
Annexation supporters note that the majority of customers served by the city’s Deer Creek water system have no representation on the city council and that the city would be in a better position to control development in the area.
Petitioners began gathering the hundreds of signatures about two weeks prior to the meeting, according to Pinckard, and the number of signatures grew since the first petition drive nearly eight months ago.