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Neighbors oppose Dunbar annexation plan

By Bridget May

DUNBAR, W.Va. -- Not everyone wants the city of Dunbar to annex several nearby communities.

Institute resident Donna Willis spoke out against the plan, which would bring West Dunbar, Institute and Pinewood into the city limits. She said the plan isn't in the best interest of residents.

"I only feel that it's righteous and fair that those who do not agree with it get a chance to speak," Willis said. "We have existed for over 120 years; we have done so as good neighbors."

She accused Citizens for Positive Change, the group that presented the petition for annexation, of having its "own agenda." She said the petition has "torn our town apart."

Mayor Jack Yeager pointed out the city has only accepted the petition and hasn't begun to count to see if it represents the majority of residents living in Institute, West Dunbar and Pinewood.

"Whether it represents the majority of people or not, we won't know until we count," he said.

Afterward Willis told the Daily Mail that the citizens of Institute received a "slap in the face" from the city of Dunbar by accepting a petition that is "disrespectful in its form, in its nature, and what it wants."

She claims Citizens for Positive Change is a "secret organization" that was formed confidentially and has plans to "take over the town of Dunbar."

Howard Thompson of West Dunbar also has issues with the annexation, claiming that the petition is not representative of the whole community and is based on maps and census information that are out of date.

The city of Dunbar is conducting a study of the information presented in the petition and will decide whether to move forward with annexation.

In other business, city council voted unanimously to accept the second reading of three amendments to city ordinances that go into effect 30 days from passage.

The first and second amendments will increase building permit fees from $18.50 to $19 and implement a $50 registration fee for contractors and handymen.

The third amendment will require owners of residential rental property to obtain a license and register properties with the city.

Council members also approved $3,500 to purchase 50-year time capsule made of Titanium. The 2 ft. by 2 ft. capsule will be sealed and placed underground on June 20, the state's 150th birthday.

Councilman Gail Harper expressed his excitement over the project saying, "We're going to involve the schools, we going to involve the Ministerial Association, we're going the citizens, and city hall!"

The capsule will include a letter written by Yeager to the future mayor of Dunbar with his vision for the city, pictures, and letters written by school children among other items.

Council members also:

* Approved $3,600 for emergency repairs to the Recreation Center's air conditioning.

* Authorized $3,500 from the $5,000 State Farm Grant to purchase combination smoke detectors. Residents can obtain the units for free from once they arrive. Lowe's has matched the amount, allowing the city to purchase twice as many units.

* Accepted two bids from Camel Technology. The first bid of $3,600 is for the installation of security cameras in the new police department. The other, for $2,750, will pay for electronic locks in the new building.

n Announced that three street lights will be installed behind Ames at the barge.


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