A casual conversation with AMB yesterday about potential, future property annexations around Decatur’s edges prompted City Manager Peggy Merriss to follow up with a few developments on the annexation-front over the past couple months.
As AMB mentioned, Mayor Bill Floyd has begun speaking publicly about annexation again this year, most prominently during his State of the City speech back in March. After a good three year hiatus, Ms. Merriss reports that city staff and the commission are in the beginning stages of considering larger-scale property annexation again.
Though discussions are very preliminary at this point, the city has posted a potential annexation areas map on their website. (Here’s a link to the PDF if you’re interested in zooming in.) Most of the areas under consideration include large portions of commercial real estate on the northern edge of the city, along with the United Methodist Children’s Home and a couple residential neighborhoods along the eastern city limits.
Why were these particular areas selected for the map? Ms. Merriss explains…
The areas to the northeast and northwest extend the City limits to North Decatur Road and incorporate major commercial properties and gateways into the City. The other areas represent neighborhoods that have corresponded with the City to indicate interest and are already working on some type of petition or process. The last areas are partial lots where the existing city limits bisect the parcel and it’s a matter of bringing them in or taking them out in order to clean up the city limits.
City leaders have made no secret that they’d like to annex around Decatur’s northern border to incorporate more commercial real estate into the city limits. From a revenue standpoint, residential property is a net loss for the city, because residents on average use more than they pay, while commercial property is a net gain, mainly because those properties don’t add children to the school system.
City leaders will meet in a work session from 6:30-7:30p on Monday, August 20th before the regular City Commission meeting to discuss next steps. According to City Manager Merriss “At that time we plan on having a report that provides the best analysis we can as to revenues, costs and future opportunities.”
A quick annexation recap for Decatur newbies: Potential costs and revenues were a major consideration back when these larger-scale annexations were considered back in 2008. However, city residents Judd Owen and Pat Herold discovered errors in a CSD consultant’s data estimating enrollment counts for the potentially annexed areas, upending the cost/revenue estimates created by the city. The result was a decision by the city commission to back-burner the annexation effort until better data could be compiled.
Sounds like annexation is back on the front-burner. This should be interesting.