Cape Girardeau County Clerk certifies Fruitland annexation petition

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Fruitland residents have submitted a petition for annexation to the city of Jackson, according to Missouri law. However, organizers would prefer to become an incorporated city. (Fred Lynch)

The Cape Girardeau County Clerk has certified a petition from a group of Fruitland residents requesting annexation to Jackson, and city officials said they are now researching the effects of extending their borders.

"We're running the numbers. We're looking at money generated from tax revenue, real estate, sales tax," city administrator Jim Roach said.

In addition to a few hundred homes, the affected area also contains several gas stations and other local businesses.

If the city decides to annex Fruitland, it would be responsible for extending services such as water and sewer to the area. Roach said the city is trying to determine if tax revenue generated from the expansion would be sufficient to cover the expense.

Examining the annexation is not the city's top priority, however. Roach said the city is first responsible for taking care of the residents it currently serves.

"It's not on the top of our list of things to do, but it's on our list," he said. "We're working on it the best we can, while doing the other things we're committed to do."

The petition was submitted in December and state law requires the city to make a decision within a year of receiving the petition. Roach said officials want to make sure the issue is thoroughly researched and they're not being slow to frustrate petitioners.

"We're not dragging our feet or being difficult on this. We have to look at it, make sure it is examined," he said. "We didn't ask for this. It was thrown in our laps."

When the petitioners first approached the Jackson Board of Aldermen about the request, they said they wanted the city to reject the petition so the area could form its own incorporated area, the Village of Fruitland. Before incorporating, state law required them to approach Jackson because of its proximity.

Roach said hasty compliance with the request would not necessarily benefit the city of Jackson and the petition is being given due diligence.

At this point Roach said he does not know what the city will do, nor does he have a preference.

"I don't know right now. Financial numbers are important, but it's more than just numbers," he said. "There's a political aspect, too."

The approximate boundary of the potential annexation area is Interstate 55 on the west, the eastern edge of the Arbor Trail subdivision and Route W on the east, Route FF and County Road 541 to the north and Route Y to the south.

Roach said while the city's limits expand to just west of the interstate, they only extend to the U.S. 61 right-of-way and do not include the homes and businesses along the road.

If Jackson pursues annexation, it has three years to place the issue on the ballot and another three years to extend full services to the area if voters approve annexation. Fifty percent of voters in both Jackson and the affected area would need to approve the annexation.

If the city rejects the petition, Fruitland residents are free to pursue incorporation.

cbartholomew@semissourian.com

243-8600

Pertinent address:

Fruitland, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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