Pierpont voters unanimously approved a proposed annexation on Tuesday’s ballot, but residents north and east of the village rejected it.
But it wasn’t all bad news for voters in the newly incorporated village, who approved a sales tax of a half–cent that will take effect in October. The tax proposal passed by a margin of 14–0.
The annexation proposal won by the same tally inside the village, but voters from the area to be annexed rejected the idea by a margin of 23–17. According to state law, involuntary annexations need majority approval from voters in the municipality and in the targeted area in order to pass.
“It’s their decision,” said Pat Cronan, attorney of Pierpont. “If they don’t want to be annexed, they won’t be annexed.”
Members of the Pierpont Board of Trustees could not be reached Tuesday night.
Pierpont residents last November succeeded in their petition to become incorporated into a village, a move that emerged out of concern that Columbia might swallow up their rural community. About 30 families live in the area, scattered along Highway 163 and Route N. In April 2004, 46 residents signed the petition calling for incorporation. That request was approved by the Boone County Commission.
The petition, however, resulted in the incorporation of a smaller area than originally intended. Residents scaled back their request because state statutes prohibit villages from incorporating areas within two miles of an existing municipality’s city limits.
The annexation that failed Tuesday intended to add the land that was included in the original petition for incorporation. Justin John, chairman of Pierpont Board of Trustees, said in a previous interview that this annexation will “get the community and farms around us all together.”
Some residents expressed concern that Pierpont itself might begin to encroach on its residents.
“(The annexation) just came about pretty quickly,” resident Steven Sapp said. “I just feel there is possibility for more regulations. And I’d just rather stay in the county.”
The Pierpont Board of Trustees has met five times. Most of its decisions involved adopting the regulations of Boone County. The sales tax approved Tuesday will be added to sales at the Pierpont Store, the only retail business in the village. It will also be added to residents’ utility bills.
The tax is intended to cover the village of Pierpont’s legal expenses, the maintenance of Tomlin Hill Road and election fees.