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Published: Friday, 3/30/2001

Annexation foes make vocal point in Adrian

ADRIAN - Applause from a packed fire hall yesterday sent a loud message to state officials that Adrian Charter Township residents and business owners were not interested in joining their neighboring city.

Adrian officials outlined several reasons why nearly 168 acres of township land would be better served as part of the Lenawee County city. But the majority of those attending the afternoon meeting told the five-member State Boundary Commission that Adrian's intentions weren't appreciated.

“We would like to remain the way we are, and we have 90 percent of the people opposed to annexation,” said attorney John Bauckham, who is representing the township. “The gain to the city would be minimal whereas it does mean something to the township.”

The city is proposing to annex property surrounding the city, including three island-like parcels on West Maumee Street and West Maple Avenue in the northwest corner of the city. In that same area, the city hopes to take several acres to square up its borders. City commissioners are eyeing property to the north along Ballenberger Drive near Lake Adrian.

Adrian officials explained that the areas were either in the city's service area or adjacent to it. They showed how the annexation would square off the city's borders and consolidate its service areas.

“This is a community that comes together and ignores boundaries for everything else,” said City Administrator George Brown. “But we do believe that these annexation proposals do make sense.”

Adrian Charter Township countered the city's geographical argument by saying it offers all the necessary services and is exempt from arbitrary annexation because it is a charter township. Township officials also noted that the proposed properties contribute about $25,000 to $30,000 in revenue, or about 4 percent of the township's total state equalized value.

And it's the more than 14 mill difference between the township's taxes and the city's taxes that makes the proposal difficult to accept, said Jim Crawford, who owns a business in the proposed annexation area.

“I'm disappointed that the all of us on U.S. 223 signed a petition that we did not want to be annexed but the city apparently doesn't care,” said Jim Crawford, 65, owner of Land Office. “Why would I want to double my taxes?” he asked. “That's all that would happen.”

Ralph Bradley lives outside the proposed area, but he too worries that if Adrian was to snatch up a chunk of the township's commercial area, his taxes may have to rise to make up for the lost revenue.

“If they do what they want, the township will really suffer,” said Mr. Bradley, 69.

The commission is made up of two state-appointed members and three local county appointees. It will continue to accept input from residents for the next month before it makes a decision.

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