New Boston talks about possible annexation

Kasi DeFrieze
The entry to New Boston.

New Boston held an open forum Wednesday, March 23, to discuss possibly annexing Swedetown Road to Bay Island Road. All residents were encouraged to give feedback on ideas presented by the City Council.

Mayor Chris DeFrieze said the tax multiplier of those in the area that may be annexed would increase from 7.9 to 8.3 percent; which is based on the 2014 current city tax. With the annexation, those affected would have a decrease in their garbage rates, use of the city Dumpster, managed and fixed roads, and local police protection. According to the City Council, the annexation would bring more money into the city, thus allowing for more community wide projects, such as fixing roads or possibly bringing back the Post Office.

Some were concerned about what would happen to private roads, paying the same taxes as those living in the city and not receiving the same water and sewer privileges, and whether or not the city would have to hire more people to manage the process.

Mayor DeFrieze told them the council is still in the research phase of the process and the meeting was merely to serve as a way to gain feedback from the community.

“We’re not going to do anything yet,” DeFrieze said. “We just wanted to talk to you guys and see what you thought about this idea.”

According to the mayor, 51 percent of the homeowners in the area being looked at would have to vote yes in order for the annexation to happen.

According to the City Council, the purpose of the annexation would be to build population and get New Boston on the map for other opportunities.

“When businesses look to come here, all they see is that we are off the beaten path,” DeFrieze said. “By annexing in this area, we not only increase our population but put New Boston on the map and but eliminate the need to stray from highway 17 to get to New Boston.”

The City Council explained that with the current population and only one road into New Boston, businesses such as Casey’s or Fairway are not interested in coming to town.

“We’ve been trying to get new business to come here,” DeFrieze said. “We just want to build our community and this is our first idea we’ve on how to make that happen.”

The mayor opened the rest of the forum so those in the audience could share their ideas on how to build the New Boston community. No one offered any suggestions and the forum was dismissed.

The annexation process is still in the research phase and will continue to be a discussion item until the council decides to place it on the ballot for a vote.

Current population: 683 in 2010, up from 632 in 2000.

Location: Western Mercer County, on the east bank of the Mississippi River.

Interesting fact: much of the area surrounding New Boston is part of the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge.

New Boston