MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Mylan, Suncrest Town Centre and the Mileground have been identified as potential targets for annexation into the city of Morgantown by new Deputy Mayor Mark Brazaitis.
Speaking to WAJR’s Morgantown AM, Brazaitis contended expanding the city’s borders is an issue of economic justice.
“One of the first steps to make this city better, is to expand our borders,” said Brazaitis. “We have to look at bringing those businesses and citizens at our edges into our town to truly reflect the size that Morgantown is and also frankly, to increase our revenue stream so that we can make those improvements and quality of life that we all want.”
However, Brazaitis’ view of city expansion goes beyond just those three areas.
“As my fellow council member Rachel Fetty says ‘anyone with a Morgantown address, maybe you really should be part of Morgantown,'” stated Brazaitis. “I think we could draw the map pretty broadly. I think we need a broad vision here, all the way out to Cheat Lake potentially.”
If city council were successful in annexing those businesses into the city, it would be a financial boon for Morgantown. Not only would each business be subject to the city’s Business and Operating Tax and property taxes all of their employees would be forced to pay the city’s $3 a week service fee.
Brazaitis expects to release a strategy for expansion soon.
“I’m going to sit down with City Manager Paul Brake and other city council members in an open forum to talk about a vision for border expansion,” explained Brazaitis.
West Virginia State Code Chapter 8, Article 6, Sections 1-6 outlines three procedures for annexation: annexation with election, annexation without election, annexation by minor boundary adjustment.
Brazaitis is hopeful property and a business owners will want to voluntarily become part of Morgantown.
“Let me be the first to shout out to people out there at our borders, come on and be a part of our city. It’s pretty easy if you do it voluntarily. There are great things that can happen if you become part of our city.”
That would require two petitions submitted to city council, one signed by all qualified voters and another signed by a majority of freeholders from the area to be annexed.
To annex additional territory through a minor boundary adjustment, approval by the Monongalia County Commission would be necessary.
“Morgantown has a number of stresses on it, including population growth. So, we have to be very smart about how we move forward, not just for the next year or two but for the next 50 years of development.”