NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Niles City Councilman Jimmy Julian says he gets it.

Julian addresses what he calls the “elephant in the room” surrounding an annexation request from two property owners who want to be in the city of Niles.

Jeffrey Heston and his wife Mary Ann, along with Bagnoli Irpino LLC, filed a petition for annexation with the Board of County Commissioners in early October. The petition requests the Hestons’ property on Stillwagon Road and a field along Niles Vienna Road from Stillwagon Road to State Route 11 owned by the LLC be annexed to the city of Niles.

Trustees from Vienna and Howland have talked about it and right now aren’t going for it. But what does Niles think about it?

Julian said that what is not being mentioned at the township meetings is the fact that the property owners want to annex into the city. That is their desire and it is not a “forced annexation,” he said.

“Maybe they want lower property tax, lower utility rates, or having utilities in the first place,” he said. “Instead of relying on well water and septic tanks, some of these residents might actually ponder the thought of leaving the township they live in. And let’s not forget about actually having access to a full-time police and fire department, which actually lowers insurance rates,” Julian wrote.

He said no one should rush to judgment about who is right or wrong, adding that he’s not going to apologize for “trying to grow our community and do what’s best for the city.”

“I think I can speak for most city officials when I say we don’t believe forced annexation would be in the best interest of the city, property owners or the townships involved,” Julian said.