Originally published August 8, 2018 at 07:10p.m.

Updated August 8, 2018 at 09:39p.m.

As I was filling out my early ballot this morning, I looked out across the street and saw the rolling hillsides laden with Ponderosa pine and scrub. The same hillsides were also speckled with houses in Timber Ridge and beyond.

The morning yielding silence was aptly disturbed with happy sounds of awakening song birds and emerging traffic on Copper Basin Road. As dawn arrived, I thought about being an American, free to make choices.

A large javelina then strolled up my walkway grunting and snorting. A beautiful Red Tail Hawk landed in one of my trees, hunting for rabbit, quail, or dove — I suppose. I chose to live in an emerging, lively, vibrant community with neighbors driving, strolling, grunting, and hunting.

As a father, an elected official, a small business owner, and employer I make decisions affecting others daily. My decisions aren’t always easy; they affect other people financially, culturally, and personally. I enjoy nature and sense a responsibility to live with and enjoy what divinity has granted mankind.

As Prescott considers new annexations, Prescottonians should remember, through an election process, council members have the legal responsibility of grasping the issues and making decisions. The cause and effect consequences of the council’s decisions will be extrinsic for many years.

Private property owners have property rights protected by the Constitution via federal and state statutes. Someone stated to me the other day that annexation is a privilege, not a right. It is conversely a privilege granted by a private property owner to allow Prescott influence on how his or her private property will be developed. Trespassing and adverse condemnation have never been palatable approaches to me.

By way of our staff, civil servants, and legal advisors, the City Council works with private property owners wanting to develop their property in the city.

Prescott is a wonderful community blended well with our natural environment.

Since negotiations for new annexations have just begun, it is important to consider these annexations were contemplated in the overwhelmingly approved General Plan. Water, traffic, and basic service delivery were all contemplated, and are evolving accordingly.

It will take a lot of time and new development will derive, as Prescott has for the past some 214 years. If development was being done poorly, so many people wouldn’t be coming here. They want to live here because we have developed in an attractive manner.

The mayors and councils, past and present, are to be commended. Prescott is one of the best cities in the entire country to live in.

Jim Lamerson is a councilman for the City of Prescott.