Beckley plans to Annex areas outside City limits and nearly doub - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Beckley plans to Annex areas outside City limits and nearly double in size

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Beckley plans to aAnnex areas outside City limits and nearly double in size Beckley plans to aAnnex areas outside City limits and nearly double in size
The City of Beckley is planning to almost double in size.

People just outside Beckley city limits are getting a letter from the mayor, addressing the benefits of joining the city. The annexation would add almost 20,000 new residents to the City. Beckley would increase from 13 to almost 15 square miles.

If homeowners and businesses agree, areas like Sprague, Ragland and Skelton will be annexed meaning quicker access to full-time fire and police departments.

Just across Eisenhower Drive from the Beckley fire department, are homes that are not within Beckley city limits. In an emergency situation, the Beckley fire department might not be the first on scene. Instead, they might have to wait until the Beaver Volunteer fire department came.

"The area serviced by the Sheriff's Department, which is a fine department that does an excellent job, yet they have to cover over 600 square miles of Raleigh County with the same number of officers that Beckley has, and they only have to cover about 13 square miles," said the Director of Annexation, Bill Kelly.

Although property taxes might increase slightly, Kelly said the benefits outweigh the cost.

"The increase in property taxes will be offset by a decrease in home owners insurance because by moving into a city, you do actually come into a class 3 fire rating area and that would probably reduce their fire insurance rates," he told us.

With the recent separation of the county and city's code enforcement, Councilman-At-Large Tim Berry addressed any concerns County homeowners might have.

"It is now separate but the rules are still the same. City code enforcement is now handling city issues and county code enforcement is handling the county issues but they're still operating under the same guidelines and same rules," said Berry.

Before anything is done, the public's voice will be heard. Public meetings will be held within the next few months. Right now Beckley is the eighth largest city in West Virginia. If the plan goes through, it will become the third largest.