Barring any unforeseen glitches, by this time next week the City of Maryville will be 80 acres larger and an estimated $185,000 better off in local tax collections.

And all of it will have come without even the first cross word being spoken.

To the contrary, there has been nothing but praise for the decision by Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corporation, U.S.A., to voluntarily request annexation to the city as a demonstration of corporate good citizenship.

Speaking on behalf of his company at the initial public hearing before the Maryville City Council two weeks ago, Kawasaki Plant Manager and Vice President Steve Bratt assured city officials, “We still want to step up and do our part,” despite the increase in operating costs which will result to the company. 

“We are proud to be a part of Maryville,” Bratt said. “We’re just not in Maryville and we’d like to take this opportunity to join the city.”

Citing his company’s satisfaction with the community’s dedication to economic development, and the manner in which it has stepped forward in the wake of the closing of the Energizer plant last December, Bratt said the idea of the voluntary annexation was initially discussed by members of Kawasaki’s top management during the company’s celebration of its 25th anniversary in Maryville earlier this year.

Bratt said the annexation is also a salute to the plant’s approximately 1,100 full- and part-time workers, many of who live in Maryville and depend on city services — such as streets, utilities and law enforcement — and its amenities, including the public library and the city’s park system.

The giant manufacturing facility located at the intersection of South Main Street and the U.S. Highway 71 Bypass, already utilizes municipal water supply and sewer systems.

“We just felt it was time to do this,” Bratt said. “It shows that we are here to stay.”

The annexation is expected to generate an estimated $135,000 per year into the city’s tax revenue stream. Additionally, the move will  increase funding by some $15,000 for the Maryville Public Library and provide another $35,000 for the Maryville Parks and Recreation Department.

Library officials say the additional revenue will provide “breathing room” in its budget for the purchase of additional books and providing other services. Maryville Parks and Recreation Director Rod Auxier has said the additional revenue to his department will help offset state-mandated tax reductions of some $45,000 annually which has cut into operational as well as maintenance budgets.   

The annexation will, however, cost the Polk Township Fire Protection District an estimated $16,000 a year in current tax revenues. The rural fire department works closely, however, with the fire division of Maryville Public Safety to provide joint protection to the Kawasaki plant and that cooperative effort will continue through a mutual aid agreement which Maryville City Manager Greg McDanel has said will be on-going.

The voluntary annexation of the Kawasaki property into the City of Maryville is a win-win situation, all the way around. 

While the city is to be commended for its hospitable nature that obviously created a welcoming atmosphere for the annexation, Kawasaki and its leadership are also to be commended — most highly — for their loyalty to Maryville and their determination to practice good citizenship and be extremely good neighbors.

And, hopefully, this annexation move will establish an incentive for additional expansion of the city limits that is long overdue.


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