GREENVILLE — Eureka Township Supervisor Laura Shears attended Tuesday’s Greenville City Council meeting to address the council regarding why the township board is concerned with Public Act 108 for a proposed Mersen USA annexation.
Mersen USA, formally Graphite Engineering and Sales, located at 712 Industrial Park in Greenville, is ranked as one of the top graphite machine facilities in the nation that specializes in machined-graphite products, according to the company’s website.
Greenville City Manager George Bosanic presented a petition from Mersen to the Greenville City Council on Aug. 7 to annex property from the township into the city.
The city wanted to move forward with Public Act 108, but the township wanted to move forward with a Public Act 425 annexation.
The discussion became heated during an Oct. 8 township meeting when Mersen General Manager Mitch Taylor asked the township why it would not cooperate with the city to let the annexation take place.
Shears stood firm on the fact the township was not moving forward unless Public Act 425 was agreed upon with the city
During Tuesday night’s Greenville City Council meeting, Shears spoke on behalf of the township board.
“The Eureka Township Board would like to say that when we have decisions to be made, such as the Mersen property annexation request, we have two major concerns to consider,” Shears said. “Those include our residents and business owners who are tax payers in the township.”
Shears went on to say through Public Act 425, all issues would be covered including how and when the annexation will be handled, while Public Act 108 will transfer property whether there is a need to transfer nor not, and does not protect surrounding residents.
“Again, I reiterate, the only major difference between the 425 and the 108 is that the city will not be able to petition for annexation of surround property while a 425 is in effect, without coming back to the township,” Shears said.
Bosanic said Shears does not have correct information.
“Both a 108 and 425 provide protection in terms of adjacent properties,” he said. “The city and the township have the opportunity to collaborate, cooperate and communicate effectively for developing terms to protect adjacent properties.”
Bosanic said this has been done in past Public Act 108 agreements and noted an annexation agreement between the city and the township for a portion of Youngman Road. He went on to explain when annex negotiations were taking place for Wal-Mart, adjacent properties were an issue because, at the time, the township was concerned with how the city would handle the properties in terms of land use if and when the property owners wanted to come into the city.
Because of this concern, Bosanic said it was agreed upon to create an opportunity for the township and city to engage in a land use development plan for adjacent properties to be able to mutually agree on what the zoning will be if a property owner asked to come into the city.
The agreement was to enter into Public Act 425 for three years and in that time a plan was developed. Once developed, the agreement became Public Act 108, which formally annexed the property into the city.
Shears said the township board stands together on entering a 425 agreement.
“It will be designed to meet all the requirements that Mersen wants and needs for any current or future expansion,” Shears said. “Any further discussions will be handled with (the) Eureka Township Board or our attorney.”
A stapled document from Shears was also given to the council going into mpore detail of the statements she made at the meeting.
“We remain committed to working with the city, both as to Mersen’s current request and to address other businesses’ plan,” the document stated. “We would strongly encourage Mersen to sit down with the township board and city council to develop a 425 agreement and we will commit to moving as quickly as possible in making a joint planning effort a reality.”
Greenville City Council members commented they would like to see the situation move forward and not backward.
“We have a business that wants to expand and add jobs,” said Councilman Lloyd Scoby, noting the process should be moving forward and people should be thinking about economical development.
During the Oct. 8 meeting, Taylor said he would be filing a petition with the State Boundary Commission. As of Tuesday night, the petition did not yet appear on the commission’s website.