Photo by Sue WatsonMike Slaughter presents land use maps to the board of aldermen and mayor to review the current status of the city’s annexation study.
Annexation study almost ready
The Holly Springs mayor and board of aldermen recently heard a review of the current annexation study under preparation by Slaughter & Associates.
The plan will likely be ready for review by the board of aldermen in just weeks.
Mike Slaughter dropped in for a quick summary of the data in the plan, which is not final.
The annexation study area boundary had been modified from its original scheme, leaving off properties to the north of the city that are to be developed in the Springs Industrial Park.
To be finalized are the financials related to the city’s general fund that would result from taking in the annexed areas to the north, east, and south.
An analysis of water and sewer expansions is being prepared.
Slaughter said the demographics have been updated as well as the assessed value and ad valorem expectations.
He asked city departments to provide their requests, but mayor Kelvin Buck said actual new expenditures in the plan for departments will very likely be revised downward.
“Boundaries have not changed that dramatically,” Slaughter said.
An existing land use map was provided for review which included the existing fire station.
A new fire station is recommended to the south that would serve the Kirkwood area and another fire station may be needed on Highway 178 West as development there materializes, Slaughter said.
New dwelling units to be added by annexation are estimated to be 367, which would add about 832 more people to the city’s population. Areas most populated were selected for consideration.
Slaughter presented ad valorem revenues on real and personal properties and mobile homes and autos.
He said the department requests would be fine-tuned or adjusted. The total revenue and expenditures in the annexation areas will help assess if it is economically feasible to do so.
He has calculated water and sewer revenues and expenditures and is building a financial model, he said.
Mayor Buck commented on the status of the study. He said the details will be presented to the public in set public meetings. Information contained in the study will be presented, laying out how the city will get the “biggest bang for the buck, first.”
“We cannot base annexation just on current revenues,” Buck said. “We have to have more information. Some department requests may be like a Christmas list.”
Buck said his departments would need to understand the numbers.
“We are not far from it – the numbers,” Slaughter said.
Buck said the city’s fire rating map includes important data. The board has been planning a fire station for a while. But adding a new fire station is the biggest expense in the annexation study, the mayor said. It requires hiring more personnel, building a new station and maintaining the city’s fire rating.
Alderman Tim Liddy asked whether the city’s fire rating is dictated by where stations are located.
Slaughter said there are long-run distances when you add Kirkwood.
“We can modify the boundary and maybe not need new stations,” he said. “We’re looking at protecting your fire rating.”
Liddy asked whether the city would rely on the county’s zoning.
Slaughter said the city would be operating under the county’s zoning in the new areas initially.
“Who draws boundaries for political wards?” Liddy asked.
Slaughter said many firms do it but Slaughter & Associates also can do it.
“First, we would look at natural extension of ward lines,” he said. “They probably wouldn’t balance.”
Then adjustments of the boundaries would be done to equalize the numbers in each ward.
“It’s something we do all the time,” he said.
Today, pre-clearance by the U.S. Department of Justice is no longer required in Mississippi, he said.
The redistricting of the wards and boundaries would be sent to the Secretary of State, Slaughter said.
Alderman Christy Owens said one concern discussed is availability of housing in growth areas.
“We have looked at where development is and where it is occurring,” Slaughter said.
A balance of current and future growth has to be anticipated allowing for future growth, he said.