A proposal to incorporate portions of White River Township into the city of Greenwood passed a major hurdle on Tuesday.
The Greenwood City Council preliminarily approved the annexation by a vote of 5-1, giving the council the go-ahead to hold public hearings on the issue, according to the Daily Journal newspaper.
Council and township board members, as well as residents, still can suggest changes to the plan, which will be presented at two public hearings. A final vote from the council and board could come in late December. If approved, voters would cast their votes on the referendum in May.
Supporters say a merger would boost the population of Greenwood—which was roughly 47,700 in 2008, according to U.S. census figures—by about 60 percent. City spending, however, would increase by only 32 percent, they argue.
Skeptics contend the consolidation would create a larger, less accountable city government, the Daily Journal said.