A petition to incorporate the Green Valley area is going nowhere.
Due to a discrepancy between the map of the proposed incorporation that was seen by those who signed the petition and the actual map of the area which is to be incorporated, Pottawatomie County Clerk Dawn Henry deemed the petition insufficient, she told commissioners on Monday.
According to County Counselor John Watt, that ended any potential involvement of the county commission.
“At this point her decision with regards to the petition is what counts,” Watt said, adding the commission had no involvement in that determination.
“You only take action once a petition has been filed and declared sufficient. At this point, you have nothing to do.”
According to Watt, should a petition be filed that Henry deems sufficient, the commission will be required to hold hearings and do things within a certain length of time.
“There could be some commentary taking the pulse of the community by some kind of poling or vote,” he continued. He added any vote would be expensive and non-binding.
Commissioner Pat Weixelman said he thinks it’s time to look into getting a system where Green Valley is paying more to keep the area.
“You’re talking incorporation and talking all kinds of theories,” Weixelman said. “Take the dollar amount we spend down there every year, it’s substantial.”
“I appreciate the work that went into this thing and it’s going to be a learning process what happens down there,” Weixelman said.
Several residents of the area had attended Monday’s meeting either in person or via Zoom to voice opposition to the incorporation attempt.
Resident Jennie Benson stated all residents within the city should be polled on the issue, and not just a select few. “Considering the size of the population, the number of people on the petition (50) is a very small minority,” she said.
Dan Dekat, a Green Valley resident, said that his position on the matter was the cost of incorporating.
“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I don’t particularly care if Manhattan annexes it,” Dekat said, “but I want to know what it’s going to cost.” He went on to voice a concern that the annexation will cause a significant increase in taxes. He also had concern not everyone’s views were reflected in the petition.
“Let’s not have 50 speak for the whole community,” he said. “Let’s have transparency, hearings, meetings, hear from experts. We don’t need to be in a big hurry.”
Corwin Seamans of Eagle’s Landing also weighed in. “Self government is always a great thing,” he said. “But there is the feasibility of it and how it would function. The things you’re doing down there, I think you’re doing a good job. Thank you for that. (I’m) not certain a self-governing city down there at this time would be able to handle things.”
Developer Dave Nelson stated that the majority of residents don’t want to be a city.
“We’ve done numerous polls,” Nelson said. “The feeling of the people is to leave it the way it is. Fifty people are not what’s representative of the area. I personally think it should just be dropped right now.”
“The population will be between 8,500 and 10,000 people by 2040,” Green Valley Kansas Foundation director Rob Busby said. He explained the foundation was formed to “promote education and civic engagement.”
“I’m not here to discuss incorporation directly,” he said. “I spoke with those who support it, those who oppose. But we’re going to grow. There will be an awfully big population that will create challenges and there are projects the community wants.”
Watt reminded the commissioners the county could not be involved in any of the incorporation process. “You will be a judge and jury if any petition is qualified,” he said.