City Council needs to slow down and think a lot smaller

Too much, too fast was probably an understatement.
When Morgantown’s draft annexation plans were first unveiled in April we were taken aback by its scope, its timeline and the process the city planned to use to accomplish its goals.
Never mind, not having definitive answers to vital details such as providing fire and police services and connecting infrastructure for water and sewer lines.
This initiative reminded us of others in recent years where the city got ahead of itself, but later thought better of it.
Look no further than the ill-fated efforts to purchase
40 acres of forest for twice that property’s appraised value.
Or City Council’s efforts to make municipal election changes, force downtown bars to close earlier or apply Home Rule to regulate state roads.
To its credit, council’s ratio of achievements to missteps is greater and there’s no reason to believe it will not get back up, dust itself off and get back to governing.
That is, if it not only extends the timeline — which it has from three to six months — for presenting its application to the County Commission, but also sets its sights a lot lower to perhaps a piece of the 3.8 square miles it originally targeted.
And in the interim explore whether 5% of property owners in Morgantown actually want to annex anyone into the city. to allow for this process to be put to a vote.
Why does the city need to increase its costs to serve an additional 12,000 people and nearly 400 new commercial businesses?
We also question why City Council deemed this a good time to jump into such a controversy.
Yes, maybe our boundaries do look like a Rorschach test but so what?
Who cares what the city looks like on a map. It’s far more important to care about what it looks like from your home and your neighborhood.
As for the need of additional revenue doesn’t the user fee anyone who works in Morgantown pays and the addition of a 1% sales tax hike in city limits in July 2020 suffice?
We also find the idea of looking beyond the Monongalia County Commission (which must approve any annexation requests) to the courts to decide such a matter repugnant.
Anyone who wants to go that route need look no farther than the city of Westover’s efforts to annex by minor boundary adjustment the Morgantown Mall.
That process went on for nearly a quarter of a century and undoubtedly came at a cost to the city and opponents of the this action.
We urge City Council to step back and altogether reassess any annexation proposals, including gauging city residents’ support for annexing anyone.
In the meantime, think smaller and slow down.

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