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Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2003

Franklin considers merger with Arma

Incorporating town not feasible after tornado damage

May 29, 2003

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— Officials in this storm-ravaged town, which lost about one-third of its homes in a May 4 tornado, is considering a merger with nearby Arma.

Before the tornado, Franklin officials were discussing incorporation of the town of about 375 so it could pursue grants and other funding for storm-warning sirens.

Now, it appears the process to become incorporated would be too long and expensive to be feasible. To incorporate, a town must have at least 300 residents.

With 50 of the community's 156 houses wiped out by the May 4 storms, town officials don't know if there are 300 people left to meet that requirement, even if the resources were there to incorporate.

Arma, about 1/2 mile north of Franklin, is incorporated and has about 2,000 residents. Arma representatives met Sunday with Franklin residents to discuss the smaller town's future.

"Since the tornado went through, we've been working for whatever is in Franklin's best interest," Arma Mayor Rock Anderson said. "The infrastructure there is so torn up."

Anderson said Franklin would receive a proposal June 8 detailing estimated costs associated with annexation or a merger.

John Houck, secretary and treasurer of the Franklin Community Civic Center -- which was destroyed by the storm -- said the idea of being annexed by Arma wasn't sitting well with some Franklin residents.

"Old-timers are having mixed feelings about it," he said. "They think Franklin should be on its own."

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