pponents to Platte City’s annexation proposals have organized a committee, presumably to begin fundraising in an effort to fight a battle at the ballot box.
A committee known as Platte City Area Citizens for Responsible Growth filed paperwork with the Platte County Board of Elections office on Tuesday, confirmed Wendy Flanigan, director at the board of elections. She said in that paperwork the committee indicates it is opposed to the involuntary annexation.
Listed as treasurer of the committee is Stan Palmer, who is a resident of the city, a sign the committee has supporters both inside and outside the city limits.
Flanigan said the committee will have to file quarterly financial reports, just as other political committees are required to do. Their first financial report is not due until Oct. 15, so it is not known if the committee has yet gathered any monetary donations.
Platte City’s annexation proposals will go to voters on Nov. 7, and if defeated by voters in either one of the annexation areas or inside the city limits, is likely to go back on the ballot in February. In that February election, a 2/3 majority of all votes would be needed for a successful annexation of each area.
by Dave Kinnamon [Landmark reporter]Platte City voters and voters in some areas of unincorporated Platte County will vote this Nov. 7 on whether or not they want the city to annex about 6,500 acres of Platte County into the Platte City limits.
Platte City aldermen voted 5-1,with alderman Aaron Jung voting against, to approve four new ordinances.
The votes occurred at a special meeting of the Platte City aldermen, which began on Monday night at 5:30 p.m.
There was another packed house at city hall—with approximately 30 people in the audience.
After the call to order, aldermen immediately adjourned into closed executive session for confidential communications between the board and its annexation attorney.
The aldermen reconvened in open public session at 6:30 p.m. The first two ordinances set the boundaries of the two proposed annexation areas. The first proposed annexation area, referred to as “Area A,” is roughly south and southwest of the current Platte City limits.
“Area A” encompasses about 3,324 acres of what is currently unincorporated Platte County.
“Area B” includes about 3,059 acres of currently unincorporated Platte County. Area B runs roughly north, northeast and east of the current Platte City limits.
Platte City mayor Dave Brooks waxed optimistic after a public hearing held on Tuesday, Aug. 15, at the Platte City Civic Center. At a city budget meeting held the next day, Brooks said: “I believe we will be successful in annexation. If it passes, rates have the possibility of being lowered since more people’s taxes will be contributing to the city’s funds.”
The other two ordinances passed Monday set the election date as Nov. 7 for authorizing the city to annex the two areas.
The election date is the same for both annexation areas, but A and B are separate ordinances.
Brooks read a 4-page script during which he forcefully promoted the involuntary annexations of areas A and B.
“It is important that everyone understands that the city has followed the process provided by state law concerning annexation,” Brooks began.
Brooks recalled the Aug. 15 public hearing.
“You heard the city’s consultants explain that the resolution regarding special circumstances expresses the board of aldermen’s intent to reasonably accommodate residents in the areas by making changes to the city’s codes to allow existing uses and activities to continue even after annexation,” Brooks said.
Brooks also made the point that there is significant construction growth in both areas and that “these areas are already affected by city issues due to their proximity to the city and the public school system,” he stated.
“In our view, there is no question that these areas ultimately will be annexed by a city at some point in time. For us, that time is now,” Brooks emphasized to the assembled crowd.
Continued growth in the two areas is “inevitable,” Brooks said, and they fall within the city’s publicly planned annexation areas as part of its comprehensive growth plan.
“Our citizens have told us through surveys that annexation is important to them. We cannot afford to wait and take the chance that another city or entity will act first and we will lose our opportunity to bring this area into our city limits,” Brooks said.
Brooks seemed to speak directly to financial naysayers who dispute that the city can fund the costs for providing city services to a geographical area that would more than quadruple the city’s size in acreage.
“Are there costs that come along with annexing an area into the city? Sure there are, but we believe that the cost of not going forward is far greater in the long run to the citizens of Platte City,” Brooks said.
Brooks was also critical of involuntary annexation opponents, some of whom have laid out numerically that it’s mathematically impossible for the city to fund added services with only the increased tax revenue from the two annexation areas.
“Some have suggested that the city should limit itself to pursuing commercial development only within the boundaries of the existing city limits,” Brooks said.
“That is a short-sighted approach that reflects a lack of vision for helping move this community forward in a progressive manner to achieve its ultimate potential. It ignores the fact that continued growth in the annexation areas will not only be residential, but will also be commercial.
“The more commercial development that occurs outside the city’s boundaries, the more loss of tax revenues we will experience in the future. That is a real cost to the current residents of the city that we cannot afford and that would be irresponsible for us to ignore,” Brooks said.
Brooks concluded his remarks by declaring that the city can afford the costs of providing services to the two annexation areas and also by stating the annexation is an “investment in the future,” he said.
Jung, who voted “No” on all four ordinances Monday night, spoke with The Landmark after the special meeting adjourned.
“The growth of Platte City is very important to me but after listening to the comments of Platte City residents and the people that spoke in the proposed annexation areas, I felt the involuntary annexation was not the best plan for Platte City at this time,” Jung said.
Jung said he does want to see Platte City grow.
“Growth is important. I believe we should pursue getting utilities extended across to the east side of I-29 and let development begin there,” Jung said.
Alderman George McClintock abstained from voting on the second reading of the first resolution—bringing annexation area A forward for a vote as an ordinance.
McClintock explained on Tuesday that he abstained only because he “knew there were enough votes” for the second reading to pass and move forward for a vote as an ordinance, so he abstained.
Jung also said he voted no on all four ordinances because he was concerned that area A would divide two developments, The Lakes at Oakmont and Running Horse Subdivision, into pieces, part city—part county.