Mayor makes counterpoints

Holly Springs Mayor Kelvin Buck took to the airwaves last week to make counterpoints to citizens opposing the city's annexation.

His hour-long presentation on WKRA radio station was to change perception of those who appeared before the Marshall County Board of Supervisors requesting a resolution against annexation of Area 3 in the plan.

Some of the mayor's points of interest to explain why the city wants annexation include:

· new growth. In order to keep pace with other areas that are growing, the city has to go with a plan for growth which would lead into the next decade and beyond. Revenue is an important part of expansion.

· the annexation plan would bring in more revenue from sales taxes and property taxes.

· property values historically go up with new and better housing development in an area. Annexation ultimately would protect property values.

· city taxes in Holly Springs are the lowest of all property taxes. This does not include school taxes.

· annexation would give the annexed areas a better fire rating. Currently the city has a level 5 rating. The better the rating, the lower home insurance premiums.

· the city will be in a better position to recruit new retail business.

· areas to be incorporated under the plan were selected for highest economic growth potential.

· annexed areas would provide increased potential for housing development.

· as the overall value of the community rises, it lowers the overall tax on each property owner by increasing the tax base. Taxes go down with expansion of the tax base.

· individuals pay less tax on their property as the number of houses, businesses and industries increase.

· utility prices go down as more people and businesses join the system.

· the school district is already in the existing city limits.

· the greater the growth, the better quality of place initiative. More resources means more revenue to enrich the environment and cultural opportunities.

· fire protection (fire hydrants access) is already in place in the areas to be annexed. The citizens of Holly Springs already pay for the only fire department in the county with a paid force. The City of Holly Springs Fire Department has provided fire protection for the entire county for years. The fire rebate from the state will increase as the city population grows.

· the city provides the only tornado siren early warning system in the entire county.

· the City of Holly Springs provides water and gas to areas within the existing city limits and these services have been extended beyond the city limits in many areas.

· new growth expected in the Springs Industrial Park will open up new job opportunities and new business opportunities for the immediate area in and around Holly Springs. That is expected to lead to the growth of the housing market for workers taking these new jobs. As the Springs Industrial Park gets off to a good start, more revenue will be generated from sales taxes that can be used to pay for better sidewalks, streets, parks and police and fire protection.

· communities that have invested in their growth ahead of growth find they outgrow their neighboring towns and communities. Quality of place and of life increases with new opportunities.

· those opposing the annexation plan, oppose it on the basis that their property taxes will increase. Progress requires a new vision for the city and community. Progress is not free. Nothing worth having is free.

Mayor Buck ended his presentation by comparing what Holly Springs once was as to the future possibilities.

"There are those who argue that the area we want to annex has nothing but fields and gullies," he said. "I remind them that at one time Holly Springs and Marshall County were nothing but fields and gullies.

"Where I built my house was nothing but fields and gullies. In fact, at one time, where I live was not in the city limits. But someone had the vision to see how it could become a part of the city. Now I and others have built homes there and we pay taxes.

"Churches and apartments have been built out there in the fields and gullies. The truth is Olive Branch, Southaven, New Albany and Oxford were nothing but fields and gullies. Look at them now!

"New businesses are opening in our town. Annexation could help these businesses grow. More people means more money for private retail and restaurants. So, yes, some may pay a little more on the front end, but over a period of time they will get more on the back end.

"It is now our time. The time is now."

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388
www.southreporter.com

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