(WKBN) – The trustees of Howland and Vienna joined together Wednesday night to formally oppose a request from two property owners to annex their land into Niles.
This after person after person spoke against the annexation — one going as far to say he’ll pay more for electricity before he becomes part of Niles.
Sixty-five people attended the meeting in Howland, where maps showed in red the 33 acres in Howland and Vienna townships that two property owners along Niles-Vienna Road want to be annexed into Niles.
In a rarity, the Howland and Vienna township trustees met at the same time. Vienna Trustee Phil Pegg addressed Niles directly.
“They pick and choose what they want to service and what they want to take over. It’s got to stop, and I believe it’s going to stop here,” Pegg said.
“The city apparently does not care,” said Howland Trustee Matthew Vansuch.
Vansuch said allowing this annexation will lead to others, since Niles has already passed a law ordering anyone who receives a utility from Niles to be annexed into Niles.
“They want to steal the areas that are prosperous instead of redeveloping their own. We think that’s wrong and it’s not the way to develop,” Vansuch said.
“What gives anybody the right to take from us?” Howland resident Tim McElhaney questioned.
McElhaney was among those who spoke against the annexation, as did Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe, who lives in Howland.
The Trumbull County commissioners have the final say on approving the annexation.
“Is there something we can do as a group to put pressure on the commissioners to put an end to this?” Monroe asked.
“The electric’s out, the water’s out. I’m sitting in a dark house in January,” said Howland resident Nancy Gatta.
Gatta gets her water and electricity from Niles, for which she pays more than people living in Niles.
“So I don’t see where there’s an advantage for me if they take over. Shouldn’t we have a right to say if we want to go or we don’t want to go?” Gatta asked.
“Forget it. I’ll pay the higher rates. I want to stay in Howland. Give me Ohio Edison. Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead,” said Howland resident Kevin Brichetto.
“My wife and I do a lot of shopping in Niles but we don’t have to,” said Howland resident Don Butler.
A hearing before the Trumbull County commissioners on the annexation is scheduled for Dec. 7 at 11:30 a.m. in the commissioners’ meeting room. At Wednesday night’s meeting, people were encouraged to attend.