WARNER ROBINS -- City Council split Monday on whether to annex a series of subdivisions where several residents have said they don’t want to be part of the city because they didn’t know the possibility for annexation existed.
Annexation is “not necessary at this time,” said Councilman Tom Simms Jr., who voted against the annexation along with Councilman Bob Wilbanks.
During the council’s regular meeting Monday, the council was divided in a 4-2 vote on the annexation of 130 properties -- mostly residential properties located between Feagin Mill Road and Ga. 96, east of South Houston Lake Road and just east of Moody Road.
About a dozen Bonaire residents complained to the council Thursday that developers signed an agreement with the city to use city-owned utilities in exchange for Warner Robins being able to annex the properties in the future.
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Wilbanks said he welcomes any new city residents, and he called for council action to force future developers to disclose the annexation possibility before closing the deal with the homebuyer.
“There’s no reason the public has to be deceived,” Wilbanks said.
Though Simms voted against the annexation, he said, “there’s a certain responsibility that falls on the buyer” to ask specifically whether annexation is possible.
Simms said his disapproval of the annexation is that the subdivisions already have problems, including drainage issues.
“They have some issues over there that I don’t think we should burden the citizens with financially when we have areas of the city that need attention,” Simms said.
Mayor Chuck Shaheen assured the residents that, if the measure is approved on a second reading at the next meeting Aug. 1, they will reap the benefits of the city’s services.
And, Shaheen said, the council will review options to require that developers disclose annexation possibilities.
“Well, that doesn’t help me much,” replied Clay Ard, whose home across from the Town & Country Animal Clinic on South Houston Lake Road could be annexed.
Also at Monday’s meeting:
The City Council voted 5-1 to amend the city’s anti-nepotism policy. The revised ordinance allows relatives of department directors to work for the city, though not directly for the department director.
Wilbanks voted against the amendment, saying anyone who is hired by the city should know their relatives are then ineligible for employment.
Shaheen told Councilman John Williams that the council can revisit the councilman’s suggestion to also allow the relatives of elected officials to work for the city.
The council voted unanimously to add a referendum to the November ballot that asks voters whether they want liquor sold at restaurants on Sundays. On May 16, the council agreed to add a referendum to the ballot about Sunday liquor sales in stores.
To contact Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.