A plan for Martinsville to more than double its size isn't sitting well with homeowners.
Opponents packed a public meeting Monday night to fight annexation. It was the seventh public meeting on the topic, even though city leaders told RTV6 they were only legally obligated to have one.
Mark McDaniel lives just outside of Martinsville, as his family has for generations.
He's one of several homeowners in Washington Township who wants no part of his land being added to the city, despite city leaders' offer to hook up to the sewer and water lines.
"It's the best water in the world here in this valley, so we don't have a water issue," said McDaniel.
If the annexation passes, Martinsville will take in 7.8 square miles, more than doubling its size.
Hundreds of property owners have an issue with the property tax increase the annexation would cost them, and they waved signs at Monday's meeting to make their stance known.
"You're talking about people's property, you're talking about people's tax base, you're talking about their lives and we're all in this together, but it's very tough when you hear it come for everybody," said City Council President Eric Bowlen.
Opponents who packed Monday's City Council meeting said they don't understand how the city engineer, whose private civil engineering company stands to profit from the project, can be objective.
RTV6's Ebone Monet asked that question to city engineer Ross Holloway.
"Everybody assumes that because you're taking in a few thousand dollars that it all goes to you. Well, when you're operating a small business, very little of it goes to the owner, and very few owners get rich," said Holloway.
Some opponents of the annexation have argued that the city cannot afford not to pass the measure, because it has already invested too much.
"Well I don't know if that is a fair argument or not," Holloway said. "I know it is significant dollars, but what I want to know is, what will Martinsville do without annexation? Our economic perspectives are very narrow, they're very limited."
"I think we have a blatant conflict of interest there that people are unhappy about," McDaniel said. "If I stood to make $1.6 million, I'd be for annexation."
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