Pierpont set to incorporate

Proposed village is one step closer to self-government.
Wednesday, June 30, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:08 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Pierpont took a new step toward incorporation Tuesday night as residents filled the Boone County Commission Chambers to show their support of the proposal and commissioners expressed their eagerness to have the incorporation passed.

Pierpont, the common name of an unincorporated portion of Boone County, lies just south of Columbia at the crossing of Missouri 163 and Route N, next to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. Three of Pierpont’s residents — Justin John, Bud Frew and Bob Miller — have been working for months to push through a proposal that would make Pierpont an official village with authority to govern itself.

About 30 people — or more than half of the proposed village — were in attendance at the hearing, and fewer than 10 went to the microphone to express their desire for Pierpont to strike out on its own.

Only one man expressed some reservations about the costs of incorporation, and he was soon informed that his property lay outside Pierpont’s pending borders.

John, Frew and Miller have been working with Boone County officials, the Missouri Municipal League and a private lawyer to research the costs of incorporation and give Pierpont its best shot at becoming independent.

The trio opened the hearing with a report of their findings, including cost estimates. They also provided a case for Pierpont’s historical significance.

“A lot of people living there now were either raised there or their grandparents lived there before,” John said. “It’s been Pierpont for well over a hundred years.”

The three men estimated residents of Pierpont would notice a rise in costs with incorporation, but they judged it to be minimal. They said it would be worth the benefit of controlling Pierpont’s future and avoiding Columbia’s growth. Many others said they want to keep Pierpont just the way it is today.

“This is something that we feel very strongly about,” resident Ryan Reddick said. “We want to preserve the integrity of the area.”

The county commissioners expressed a desire to grant the residents their wishes.

“This is democracy at its best,” said Skip Elkin, Boone County Northern District commissioner.

The county counselor, John Patton, advised the commission that Pierpont appears to meet all the state requirements for incorporation, but the commission decided to have its surveyor double-check the formal description of Pierpont’s border before adding it to its next agenda.

Boone County Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller explained that they needed to make sure the borders made a complete enclosure around the proposed village.

Miller said she hoped to get Pierpont’s incorporation request on the commission’s agenda as soon as possible, but the holiday weekend would cause some delay.

Once it’s put on the commission’s agenda, the proposal will go through two commission reads and a vote. If passed, commissioners will then select a five-member board of trustees to govern the new village.

Pierpont’s formal incorporation process began in April, when some residents submitted a petition with 46 signatures — enough to fulfill the state’s two-thirds requirement — requesting the county commission approve their request to form a village.

Missourian reporter Lindy Bavolek contributed to this report.

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