MAN — Last month many people had asked questions and inquired about rumors regarding the most recent proposals to annex nearby schools and businesses to the town of Man. And on Monday night, Town Attorney Adrian Hoosier had answers for the public at a very packed meeting of the Town council.
Several months ago the topic came up again at town hall. Originally local employees of a nearby school which is very close to town limits and some business operators had petitioned the town for annexation, noting that without it police protection can be a half-hour or more away due to the remote nature of old Route 10 and the difficulty the Logan Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police sometimes have had in responding to calls for assistance. Nearby pharmacies have been robbed and there have been situations at the local schools where police were called and were unable to respond rapidly, at a time when the Man Police Department was nearby and available — yet outside city limits.
Hoosier told the public that two elections will be held, one in the proposed annexation area and one in town and that for the proposal to pass, there has to be at least a one-vote margin in favor of the proposal at both locations. The date for the elections has not been set yet, Hooser said.
“If the measure fails at one or the other locations the annexation fails,” Hoosier said, noting that the current annexation proposal follows state code and West Virginia Municipal League guidelines.
Hoosier said that questions from last month about a proposal in another area to annex in order to gain a high end business development were about a different type of situation.
“In this case, the town of Man is trying to provide police protection to the school,” Hoosier said. “In the Greenbrier case the city of Greenbrier ignored its surrounding neighbors and tried to annex a high dollar development.”
Hoosier noted that recent local and national level events regarding school safety had shown the importance of the stated goal of providing police protection to the school.
“We cannot let nuances keep us from providing protection to school children and teachers,” Hoosier said, adding that residential property owners could elect to stay out of the annexation if they chose not to be included.
Jimmy Porter asked about the need for a surety bond for the election.
Hoosier said it was a standard procedure and he made the recommendation in order to make sure all the I’s were dotted and T’s were crossed twice. Hoosier noted that the cost of an election in Man would be about $2,500, and that the bond made sure the town was not left holding the bag.
Porter asked if businesses in the proposed annexation area could opt out, and was told “no.”
Councilman John Fekete noted that in a previous annexation proposal that type of situation had been proposed, but had been shot down by people who opposed the annexation.
One business owner outside of town said he had not heard about the proposal, “except for hearsay,” and had not seen a map of the proposed annexation area. Hoosier offered him his own copy of the map, and noted that the proposal had been in the Logan Banner several times and that when a date for the elections was set a legal ad would be printed. Hoosier said legal ads in newspapers like the Logan Banner and others were not prohibitively expensive and that when the laws were made it was presumed that the public read them.
A female business owner from outside of town said she did not pay much attention at what went on in town meetings.
“Before it can go further people will be notified and a legal ad will be published,” Hoosier said. “It has to have certain language in it as required by state code and the municipal league….I want people to know we followed all the regulations.”
In other Town of Man news:
• Mayor Jim Blevins said the town and residents of Man faced a crippling blow with the unexpected death of longtime councilman and community leader Darrell Mangrum.
“He did all of our grant work,” Blevins said. “Any time that the town or the people needed help he was the first to come forward. I do not know how we will ever replace him.”
• Fekete said he had three resolutions that needed to be signed for grants. One was for $20,000 which would require a $2,000 match; one for $6,000 requiring a $600 match for the town’s park board and one for the Little League for $6,000 that would require the little league to come up with the $600 matching funds. All three were approved.