A first reading of the ordinance took place in November and the city had no meetings during the month of December, resulting in the second reading and passage in January.
Specifically, the areas now existing as part of the city following the unanimous vote, include land and property along Route 306 leading out of the city that include the bowling alley, a clinic and a pharmacy.
In addition to incorporating this property into the city, the commission also voted to annex areas exiting beyond the bridge leading out of the city at the junction of Route 306 and Route 122.
Turning left at the bridge and onto Route 122, the city has now expanded its boundaries to include all businesses on the left side of the road, which include long-standing establishments such as the Bypro Dairy Bar and the grocery store Hall’s Market, as well as the more recently opened Dollar General Store.
Newly elected Mayor Andy Akers, who had served as a commissioner for the city for several years before unseating former mayor Marlee Sammons, said the decision had been a long while in the making.
“We’d been talking about it awhile, and that’s not the only places we’re talking about annexing,” Akers said. “We’re going to do it in steps.”
Akers said he and the commission “got on the same page” after the first of the year and passed the ordinance, thinking primarily about areas that were already using the city’s services, including police and fire protection.
“They’re using our police protection and our fire protection already,” said Akers. “Now Randy (Johnson) will be able to actually patrol those areas. Before, he had to first be asked by the county or state to go into those places.”
The city interviewed six applicants Thursday, one of which will be hired as a second police officer to assist Johnson, Akers said.
As is custom at commission meetings in Wheelwright, the agenda which lists items to be discussed for meetings is posted outside city hall. However, city officials said Thursday that no one, including business owners, voiced opposition to the annexation during the meetings.
City officials say that many of the businesses are already using the city’s utilities and that the key change would be that in addition to paying county property taxes, the owners would now also be required to pay city taxes.