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North County approves high school annexation

The North County Board of Education met in regular session Thursday and during the meeting they discussed the annexation of a portion of Raider Road.

Bonne Terre Police Lt. Bill Stegall spoke to the board about the benefit of annexing the road to make it part of Bonne Terre city limits.

“Basically what the city is doing, is they are considering doing some squaring up of the city limits,” explained Stegall. “When you think of city limits, a lot of people think of a nice pretty square with even sides, but with Bonne Terre’s city limits, it looks like somebody took paint and threw it down and it splattered everywhere.”

Stegall said they are just trying to make it a little simpler. He believes the school property is the only one to have a little bit of property drawn into the city limits and the rest outside city limits.

“There will be no problem as far as zoning or anything else that will affect that property,” said Stegall. “It’s just a matter of us trying to square it up for enforcement reasons. So if anything happens the police department will take care of it.”

North County Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman said the big factor for the district is that it will give the police department jurisdiction for being on the district's property.

“Being a part of the city will give the police the authority to be on our property to assist us with issues,” stressed Poorman. “Theoretically, their jurisdiction stops at the middle of the ditch coming away from Raider Road and they don’t have any of that wedge in by the school.”

Poorman said when he met with Bonne Terre City Administrator Jim Eaton they went over the issue and it was a mess.

“He’s being very nice about it, but they have a mess on their hands,” said Poorman. “It jags around stuff, there’s like one little property left out and some spots are islands. For us it’s very important for two reasons: one, annexation to the city provides you other services of the city, but the biggest thing is it frees them up in jurisdiction control on our campuses.”

Poorman feels the best thing for the district is to be a part of the city.

Stegall said they are just trying to look at some of the roadways in that area in an attempt to pull them in and do better enforcement in the area.

“It’s a mess, that’s the best way Dr. Poorman put it. This will clean it up really nice to where it is easy for us to enforce and it will be easier for the city as well,” said Stegall. “The letter I presented is something the city is asking to be done and whether the school will support it or not.”

Poorman said the only issue with doing something like this would be for a property owner with the taxation issue, but the district doesn’t have to worry about that.

“If this was a personal property thing then it would be a different situation, but for us, there is no downside,” said Poorman. “This is good for us.”

Stegall said he believed the school was the only thing that needed some annexation, that everything else is public roadways.

Poorman explained the annexation of the school district property, which includes the back half of the property, into the city of Bonne Terre will make things better.

“We have had some issues with patrolling of the road and our drive and we had also had issues of the local police being authorized to work accidents or fender benders in the parking lot,” Poorman said. “So by being a part of the city, inside the city parameters, it gives us a greater comfort level and authorization to them to be able to help the school more in situations like that.”

Poorman added that at the same time, when they have special events, like big football games or campus ongoings, the police are free to both patrol on campus or on the roadway. It will also enable them to assist with traffic issues and they won’t be on private property.

"It’s a win-win for us and the city, being a tax-free entity it didn’t help the city financially, but it definitely helped us and we appreciate Officer Stegall and Mr. Eaton for the city being willing to do that,” said Poorman. “They are trying to really smooth out the boundaries of Bonne Terre and it’s an ongoing and difficult process.”

The board voted in favor of the annexation, making the entirety of the school and Raider Road part of the Bonne Terre city limits.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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