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Column

GUEST COLUMN: Annexation – advantage city of Sterling

No benefits to be found for west-end residents

This column is in reference to the article “Sterling looks to west for city expansion,” which appeared in the Nov. 12, 2019, issue of the Daily Gazette:

To borrow a quote from the late Dorothy Parker, “Excuse my dust.”

We, the owners of the properties on the west end which are under consideration for annexation to the city, take umbrage with Sterling City Manager Scott Shumard’s comment that we have an unfair advantage over city taxpayers. We value friendships with our city neighbors and have never experienced even a hint of a sense of unfairness. For a half century and more, west-end residents and businesses have responsibly paid taxes to Sterling Township and Whiteside County

Mr. Shumard stated that the annexation would assist with population-based grants for the city. We would highly recommend that instead of annexing more parcels of property, the city take care of its existing problems and strive to create a climate in the city that would welcome new residents, who could then buy and fix up many of the empty residences within the city. This would result in a more favorable census. The same principle applies to small businesses that set up their businesses elsewhere rather than deal with problems encountered when they attempted to come here.

Annexation would result in several financial advantages for the city. When we asked what the advantages were for the west-end residents and businesses, the response was, “I guess there aren’t any.” We couldn’t agree more. Businesses on the west end were told that they would never be forced to be in the city limits and trusted the city would abide by their word.

Many of us are on fixed incomes. Not only will our real estate taxes be increased substantially, we would also face monthly charges for services that we already take care of individually, having our own wells, septic systems and garbage pickup. All has been done according to the rules of Sterling Township and Whiteside County. The city is rife with regulations that don’t make a good fit with our individual situations here. Mr. Shumard’s comment about having some “... control over the environment” is most puzzling. What does that mean?

The west end has historically been the “poor relation” of the area. Strange how it has now become so desirable. We are not squatters who have all of a sudden been encircled by the wagons. We chose to live outside the city limits the same way our friends in the city have chosen where they live. We urge the city of Sterling to please let us rest in peace and continue to co-exist with the city as we have done for so many years.

Note to readers: Carolyn Keller lives on Fourth Street, west of Sterling.

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