LAPEL — The town of Lapel is about 15 people short of making its annexation south of town a voluntary one.
Council President Gary Shuck said confusion about how to count the homeowners in the annexed area is what led to the shortfall. He said the people getting the signed petitions thought 51 percent of the acreage was adequate and focused on homeowners with large tracts of land.
Shuck said it turns out a voluntary annexation needs 51 percent of the people in the area regardless of tract size.
"The people with less than an acre count just as much as the people with 300 acres," Shuck said. "There were just some people we overlooked."
Despite being short, Shuck said council members are confident they can get the necessary signatures to make the annexation of nearly 11 square miles a voluntary one.
"We had a lot of people who have said they want to be in Lapel," Shuck said. "It's just a matter of going out there and getting their signature."
As of Monday, Shuck said the council was still planning on holding a special council meeting on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. He said at that meeting, the council will officially decide whether to move forward with the annexation or not. The plan is to decide at the special meeting and, if the council wants to proceed with the annexation, have a first reading of the ordinance during the council's April 3 meeting. Officials hope to have the necessary signatures prior to that meeting.
Shuck said the council doesn't want to do a non-voluntary annexation if at all possible.
"That would only be as a last resort," he said. "We would like this to be voluntary and I think it will be."
The proposed area for the annexation stretches from Lapel's current boundary south to County Road 700 South. It also runs east to west from County Road 750 West to the Madison County line.