Clifton could soon be part of Grand Junction. However, residents would have to pass a petition first. County officials hope to have that petition in the hands of Clifton residents by the end of the year.
With close to 14,000 residents, Clifton is larger than the city of Fruita and as it grows so does its need for services. To help meet that need the county has proposed several options, annex to Grand Junction, incorporate and form its own city or become a public improvement district.
"Annexation actually gave us a smaller increase in taxes but higher levels of service," says, Kimberly Bullen with Mesa County. Bullen says a little more than half of Clifton is in favor of annexation.
Clifton governance committee member Ron Rowley who helped collect those numbers says they were close. Rowley says, "The data that we got back from the surveys done last year was fifty, fifty." But, when the county said annexation would be cheaper some opinions changed.
Rowley says he's not for or against annexation, he just thinks it's a lost opportunity for Clifton to start a new city. "The city hasn't really even said that they're sure that they would like to annex the area," says, Rowley.
Now a sub committee is working on a petition that would allow property owners to vote in favor of annexation by signing it. Bullen says, "We hope to have a petition to the city of Grand Junction by the end of the year." The petition would be circulated in three area of Clifton starting first in Fruitvale. "I think if the first one is unsuccessful we'd probably have to go back and reevaluate whether or not we feel we could be successful in the other two," says, Bullen.
Ultimately, if the petition passes it still would have one more hurdle to overcome.
"Then it goes to the city and the city makes that decision of whether or not they will annex that proposed area," says, Bullen.
Until then the county hopes to hold public hearings to gather more information and talk with concerned residents in the area.
Law enforcement and infrastructure are listed as some of Clifton’s top priorities for services.