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Annexation might proceed

March 08, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

BOONSBORO - Though only a minority of property owners have expressed support of the plan, an annexation of land along Alternate U.S. 40 outside Boonsboro could go forward.

The town council voted at its meeting Monday to approve the introduction of a resolution annexing the land, as the Washington County and state health departments have recommended for the 197.57-acre area affected by possible well-water contamination.

"It was my intent that if we did not get 50 percent of the landowners in favor of it, that we not go forward," Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman said. But, the health departments have recommended moving forward with the plan because of the risk to residents, he said.

A public hearing for residents and state and county officials will be April 6, Town Manager John Kendall said.

According to Kendall, just 34 percent of property owners along U.S. 40 Alternate and Mill Point Road have agreed to the annexation since the town sent out letters offering the option.

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Water for some of the wells in the area is contaminated with fecal bacteria and might contain pathogens that could sicken people, officials from the Washington County Health Department have said.

If the area is annexed, state funding would help pay for the extension of city water to the area. However, the plan would not fund the extension of Boonsboro's sewer line, which town officials have supported.

According to the law, the town needs the support of only one-quarter of an area's landowners representing 25 percent of an area's property value to move ahead with annexation, Kendall said. The owners who have consented so far represent 47 percent of the value of the land, he said.

The council could vote as early as its May meeting on whether to annex the area, Kendall said. If it voted for annexation, residents could challenge annexation by taking the issue to referendum, he said.

The state has indicated it will offer the funding only if the money is committed by July, Kendall has said.

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