Protesters have argued that extra police protection in the area is not needed because of the state police and sheriff's deputies.
But, those who live and work in the area say that often there is only one trooper or deputy on duty and that when they are up Route 44 or past Chapmanville it can take them an hour to respond to a call from Man, and that they want the local police to respond to calls rapidly.
City Attorney Bernard Spaulding had maps prepared of the proposed annexation areas for the council members to look over. Spaulding said the businesses in the proposed area had to be identified as well as who actually owns the old Man Hospital property. One track going down Buffalo Creek was excluded.
"We don't want to go up Buffalo Creek," Mayor Jim Blevins said.
Councilman Jimmy Justice noted the areas took in only the road not houses. The council made a motion to have Spaulding submit the proposal to the County Commission for approval via minor boundary adjustment, excluding Track II (Buffalo Creek).
Roger Muncy said it would take in the area up to the curve at the car wash across from Logan Bank and Trust and Rite Aid.
Willie March presented the council with petitions he said were from Huff Creek from people who did not want to come in. "Larry Charleton is one," March said.
Mayor Blevins said that even if the annexation proposal goes through anyone who does not want to be annexed by the town doesn't have to. When March asked why the council made the proposal, Johnny Fekete noted that employees at the local school had come to the council and asked to be annexed for closer police protection.
"If you have a situation with a gun, who responds quicker, the Man P.D. or the state police or sheriff's (department)," asked Jimmy Justice.
March had initially complained about fire department service saying the town's fire department would respond to calls from the school even though there was a closer fire department next door. Not five minutes earlier in the meeting Man Fire Chief Robert Paynter had explained all three fire departments in Man had agreements to work together.
Justice said problems relating to violence in schools had become a nationwide matter, and said people with kids in the school would feel better if the local police were able to respond to calls within two minutes. When March argued that town police could respond to calls outside of town limits, Man Police Chief S.W. "Steve" Simpkins noted, "That doesn't make it legal."
Daryl Mangrum said he lived in the town and had been to many meetings where the protesters were not even present.
"I work at Rite Aid and I had a gun stuck in my face on August 18, 2005," said Mangrum. "It took the (out-of-county) police 25 minutes to arrive. Less than a year earlier two people came in with guns and demanded Oxycontin. They put a gun to my partner's head. We quit carrying it. Many people with serious pain problems have to do without it from us, but it's not worth losing your life over."
Mangrum noted that none of the gunmen were caught and those in mortal danger deserved to have faster police response time than they have now, which would come with annexation.
"People's lives are in danger," Mangrum said, noting that annexing the school would not cost anyone a dime. "It would make me feel better working at Rite Aid knowing the cop is two minutes away, "not out past Chapmanville."
Mangrum said a local doctor had been attacked on Monday by a drug seeker who threatened to blow the clinic up. "It took an hour for the (out of town) police to arrive," Mangrum said, adding that there were dangerous and crazy people walking around. "Until someone has a gun shoved in your face, you don't know how bad it is."
Mangrum noted he was on the council in 2002 when the road to Rita was annexed and it brought in thousands in B&O taxes.
"You have to think about the future," Mangrum said.
"Let 'em hire a security guard," Herb Staten said of the school system and businesses in the proposed area.
"I could care less," Bernard Spaulding admitted. "The petition is not valid; it does not comply with statute."
One former teacher said she also had an incident where a six foot four inch student pointed a gun at her once, and would feel safer with the town police responding in minutes to such a crisis. Later she commented about a recent bomb scare in the Man area when a driver found a fake bomb on a school bus. "You just feel safer when you know it's only going to take two or three minutes for help to get there," she said.
Fire Chief Robert Paynter said he did not know why so many people who did not live in the town or near the affected area were so worked up over the annexation proposal. Paynter said that even if the proposal went through and was approved people who did not want to be a part of the town would not be forced in and would not have to pay anything.
"Why all the fuss?" Paynter said.