Do city lights beckon for Clifton-Fruitvale?

A citizen committee examining future governance of the Clifton-Fruitvale area reached a not-so-startling conclusion last week: If residents in the densely populated, unincorporated areas in the east part of the valley want better services with the least possible increase in taxes, then they should annex to the city of Grand Junction.

Annexation is the best means of achieving what respondents in a Clifton-Fruitvale survey said were their top two priorities — keeping property taxes low and maintaining a high level of government services. Annexation would be far less costly and time consuming than for the Clifton-Fruitvale area to incorporate as a new municipality.

However, just because this newspaper and a majority of members on the Clifton-Fruitvale Governance Committee believe annexation is a good idea, that doesn’t mean it will happen. Residents in those areas are notoriously independent. They have long treasured their status as not being part of Grand Junction.

Furthermore, residents of the Clifton area demonstrated their willingness to swim against the popular tide earlier this month — and to support what they already have — when they voted to approve a tax increase for the Clifton Fire Protection District.

Additionally, there are questions about how Grand Junction would serve the Clifton-Fruitvale area if the equivalent of a small city was annexed into an already medium-sized city.

•  Would there be a satellite police station with full-time officers serving those neighborhoods?

•  Would the makeup of the Grand Junction City Council change to ensure representation from Clifton and Fruitvale?

•  How would the Grand Junction Fire Department work with Clifton Fire to mesh their services?

•  What would happen to Clifton water and sanitation districts?

Those are questions that must be answered if a ballot measure to authorize annexation is eventually put
to Clifton-Fruitvale voters.

For now, though, the members of the governance committee deserve credit for taking a careful look at the costs and benefits of incorporation and annexation, and reaching a reasonable conclusion about which will best serve the needs of the region’s residents.


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