Troy Township officials have asked Delaware City Council to reconsider its annexation policy for township property owners who want access to city utilities.

Troy Township officials have asked Delaware City Council to reconsider its annexation policy for township property owners who want access to city utilities.

The city's current policy requires township residents to annex into the city within 10 years of the extension of city utilities to a property.

Troy Township Trustee Doug Price spoke before council Monday, Aug. 10, to ask the city to change that rule at the request of residents of southern Troy Township.

Price said he reached out to city officials after multiple residents contacted the township complaining about issues with wells on five properties. He said the problems -- one well has gone dry and others are pumping muddy or iron-tinged water -- coincide with the start of increased pumping activity by the city last December in the township.

"They feel they had good wells until the city started pumping out of the Penry Road well field," he said. "Now their wells are dry. It's a burden on them."

Price said the residents deserve drinkable water and the right to choose to stay within the township.

"If they want to get clean (potable) water from the city, they have to sign an agreement that they're going to annex in, and they don't feel like they should have to annex in," he said.

Councilman Andrew Brush said he understood Price's concern, but added he worried about spending money on a utility project outside city limits.

"What I would have a hard time justifying would be extending a water line that's not ... currently in place," he said.

Price said some of the affected homes could be served by utility lines that already are in place.

Brush said he also did not want to set a precedent that could convince other developers and property owners to request utilities without promising annexation.

"We've been very consistent and very steadfast in this policy," he said.

Price said the city could base its annexation policy on the extension of sewer services instead of water.

"As you well know, development's not driven by water. Development's driven by sewer capacity," he said.

Price said he wanted to start the discussion with city officials because he thinks problems could get worse for township residents if the city starts withdrawing water from its Troy Township reserves at a faster rate.

"You're not even close to capacity yet and we're having issues," he said.

Brad Stanton, Delaware's director of public utilities, said city officials are working with the affected township property owners to see if the city could share costs for fixes such as filters. He said residents he talked with now are replacing filters more frequently.

"We also plan to start up a groundwater monitoring program where we will monitor the levels of their wells and the quality of their wells within the service area," he said.

Brush asked Stanton if Troy Township residents were hesitant to agree to annexation because of the city's income tax. Stanton said his conversations with residents led him to think they were more concerned with possible restrictions on land use.

Mayor Carolyn Riggle said city officials need to discuss the issue further before coming to a decision.