City may consider annexing schools

Commissioners prompt approach to Westminster

May 03, 1999|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

At the urging of the county commissioners, Carroll school officials have asked Westminster to annex three school properties, a proposal city leaders say they are willing to consider -- if the deal is right.

"Our response would depend on the package they have in mind," said Mayor Kenneth A. Yowan. "Would the property surrounding the schools be included? What roads would be included? What commercial properties would be included? These are all factors we would have to carefully consider."

School officials sent a letter to Yowan two weeks ago, expressing an interest in "annexation of school facilities" by the town.

The correspondence does not name schools, but data compiled by school staff in March outline the benefits of annexation of West Middle, William Winchester Elementary and Friendship Valley Elementary.

"I think the letter was just to feel us out," said Yowan. "I presume if they are serious about this, they will send us a letter that is more explicit as far as the property and schools involved."

The commissioners said they suggested annexation of the three schools after studying data compiled by Lester Surber, a member of the county's school construction department.

"The annexation would save several thousand dollars," said Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier. "Every little bit helps. Right now, we're just opening up the conversation to see what everybody thinks, what the pros and cons of this would be."

The savings for county taxpayers would be about $7,000, Surber's data indicated.

Westminster, which provides water and sewer service to the three schools, charges them higher rates because they are outside city limits.

Yowan said the loss of revenue would not be the major factor in the city's decision to approve or deny the school system's request. For the mayor, the key question is whether the county would allow the city to annex some contiguous commercial property.

"I think we'd like to discuss whether annexation of Carroll Plaza is a possibility," said Yowan. "When you look at the city boundaries, it would certainly make sense. Logically, it should be in the city."

The property is adjacent to West Middle and William Winchester Elementary.

It's an idea the commissioners seem willing to discuss.

"We'll have to talk about it. We haven't gotten that far yet," said Commissioner Donald I. Dell, who hopes to meet soon with city officials to discuss the proposal. A date has not been set.

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