After sometimes impassioned arguments both for and against an annexation proposal at a public hearing Tuesday, the City Council voted to host another hearing on the issue Jan. 3.

More than 100 citizens from Murray and the now-unincorporated parcel turned out at the Hillcrest Junior High auditorium, braving heavy snow and slick roads. The public hearing, more than two months in the making, drew a surprise number of proponents and opponents from the more than half-a-square-mile area, council members said.Councilman Leon Robertson said 800 notices had been mailed to affected residents.

Many Murray residents spoke against annexation, and most residents of the area spoke in favor. That area includes 4800 South and 5400 South, from 1300 West (Canal Street) to the Jordan River.

A petition started two years ago by Steven Domino, a resident of the Taylorsville-Bennion community, sparked the annexation debate. Domino gathered signatures from 95 percent of that community, then submitted them to the council in October for an incorporation bid.

Around the same time, other Taylorsville-Bennion residents were signing petitions to incorporate into their own city, including the proposed Murray annexation land into their city's boundaries. Those petitions were received by Salt Lake County Nov. 14, one month after the first bid.

"We've decided it would be in the interest of our citizens if we tried to annex into Murray City. We have no interest in incorporating in Taylorsville-Bennion," Domino said. "There is no advantage in incorporating into a new community, dealing with a new administration we don't know and risking services we already have. We would like for our area to be partitioned out if there's some problem."

Other residents of the area looked forward to more and better services, higher property valuations, and a better school district. They also said Taylorsville-Bennion could carry its own weight with sales-tax revenues and that Murray should consider not letting itself get landlocked in the inevitable wall-to-wall cities sprawl.

Murray residents, on the other hand, overwhelmingly opposed the plan, citing a lack of data on the fiscal and educational impacts of the annexation. They said annexation would not benefit them.

"Murray's an economic powerhouse, and everyone wants a piece of us," one resident said. "The question to ask is `Will Murray be well-served?' If not, we should respectfully decline."

Councilman Fred Jones and Councilman Leon Robertson were particularly concerned about construction and maintenance of streets to the area, Murray's inability to provide water and sewer service to the land and the effects of busing students across town to schools now at or near capacity.

Councilman Gary Ferrero however, said the annexation would give Murray the "intangible benefit" of controlling the west side of the Jordan River, a needed buffer.