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Maharishi Vedic City annexation opposed

AP, via The Gazette, USA
Sep. 24, 2007 • Wednesday September 26, 2007

MAHARISHI VEDIC CITY – Jefferson County is opposing an annexation plan by city officials here, claiming the city should not expand until it provides municipal services for its current land.

Maharishi Vedic City, established six years ago by followers of Transcendental Meditation, is trying to annex 86.5 acres in southeast Iowa.

The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Monday asking the state to prevent the city from annexing land until it provides municipal services to its residents.

Supervisor Steve Burgmeier, who helped draft the resolution, said the county takes issue with several projects that the city failed to complete after its incorporation, despite an agreement with the state.

According to the resolution, the city has not organized a volunteer fire department as originally planned, nor has it established public streets. The resolution also points to problems with 911 numbering within the city.

Kent Boyum, Vedic City’s economic development director, said the Vedic City Council voted unanimously last week to annex the land and at the time had not heard of the county’s opposition.

The city of 420, considered a spiritual center of the Transcendental Meditation movement in the United States, has met with resistance and sometimes hostility from nearby farmers and surrounding governments since it was incorporated in 2001 north of Fairfield.

In April 2004, city officials proposed housing 500 pandits, or special meditators, using city money. But Jefferson County residents opposed the plan because the public money from a local-option sales tax would be used for a religious purpose.

In 2005, the Jefferson County board unanimously rejected the city’s request for help to get a $132,000 grant from the state’s Community Attractions and Tourism Fund to build a visitors center and upgrade an astronomical observatory.

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