LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
To the Editor:
In last week's edition of The South Reporter a story relating to the court proceedings on the City of Holly Springs annexation plan was published. I would like to correct the enormous amount of misinformation and out right false statements made by the few opponents who were at the proceedings.
The first thing I must correct is the statement that all persons included in the annexation, taxes will increase 40 percent. This is absolutely misleading. The fact is taxes will increase only slightly around 20 percent or less. Another fact is lower homeowner's insurance will more than offset this increase in taxes. According to the State Insurance Commission a Level 5 fire rating which the city has should reduce your homeowner's insurance by approximately half when compared to the Level 10 fire rating the proposed annexation areas currently have. If your homeowner insurance is a 1200 in a Level 10 fire rated area it will go down in a Level 5 fire rated area like the City of Holly Springs.
Another fact is, when you look at your taxes the biggest chunk of your taxes is county taxes. County taxes are more than twice what city taxes are. Here is a real example: an actual house located on Higdon Road has a listed true Value of $189,160; the current tax on this house is $1,710.92. After the area is annexed into the city the new tax rate would be $2,144.72. By becoming a part of the city this house would pay $433.81 more than they do now. The city portion of taxes is less than half of what they pay in county taxes and is only around 20 percent more than they currently pay when you consider the entire current tax. Another house located on Hwy. 7 South currently pays $494.57 in taxes and after the annexation into the city they would only pay $125.40 more in taxes.
So, your question probably is what would you get out of being annexed by the City of Holly Springs. The first thing you would benefit from is lower home insurance cost. Your home insurance would go down by as much as half what you currently pay. Right now, by the properties who have come out against this annexation, they have fire hydrants provided by the city and city water. They receive the fire protection from the city even though they don't help the city taxpayers pay for the cost like those of us who already pay city taxes. Every fire truck the city buys helps protect their homes. Every fire plug you see in these areas have been provided by the City of Holly Springs. If their homes were to catch fire it would be the city of Holly Springs Fire Department that would have to respond to the fire, otherwise these very residents would have to wait until a volunteer fire department could get from Potts Camp to put out the fire. This is the city that these folks are harshly criticizing in their opposition to the city's annexation plan. We just authorized the purchase of one new fire truck about a month ago at a cost $615,000. This fire truck would be used to put out a fire or respond to a car accident on a road like Higdon Road that currently has no street lights. If this street was in the city, we would also put street lights on this road.
It was also stated that the city can't take care of what we have. This is such a misguided and misleading statement. I have traveled in some of the richest cites in the state and nation and no matter what city I go in they are constantly having to repair streets. Street repair will always be a part of any city no matter if they annex or not. The top 10 most progressive and growing cities in this state have all passed and completed annexation plans. They did so even though they didn't have all their streets fixed or have double sidewalks on every street. They did their annexations because they see a bigger picture for the future of their cities. They know that looking ahead and planning for your city requires taking big steps that will allow your city to be ready for the growth that's coming, and believe me growth is already coming our way. I will say that again, growth is already coming our way. The question is do we have the vision to prepare for this growth or will we let the growth continue to happen in cites all around us. I for one say prepare now and this annexation is one tool I am asking us to support to help our city grow. We need areas that will be good for more single-family conventional housing development. More roof tops are the key to having more funds to fix more roads and sidewalks. More roof tops can help pay for the new fire trucks and more police officers needed to protect our city.
This is not a land grab; this is to say to those who already benefit from our services like fire protection, help the rest of us who are paying for their fire protection. This is not a land grab; it is an attempt to take the steps to move the City of Holly Springs forward like many towns around us are doing. If we keep doing what we always have done because some don't want to make a few sacrifices we will always be behind every other town around us. I too love this town. I have given much of my adult life trying to do what I can to make it better. I am a taxpayer and I see deer and armadillo in my yard all the time right here in the city limits.
Holly Springs police do a fantastic job protecting us and I really take exception to criticism about police protection in this city. We are one of the safest cities in the state of Mississippi. We have crime like a lot of places but look at any information about crime and you will find that Holly Springs is a safe community and we continue to invest in people and equipment to make it even safer. Our tornado warning system helps alert our residents about tornado activity in our area. Our parks serve far more children than just those who live in the city limits. So, we offer a lot to those who live in our city or the county and our city taxes are low and have not been increased in seven or more years. I again ask you to consider the facts and don't just listen to the misleading statements of a few, some of whom have made fortunes off the City of Holly Springs and moved just outside the city limits to avoid paying their fair share for the benefits they now enjoy and we pay for. Annexation is really important for the future of this town. We need the new potential retail areas and the new potential housing development areas to go along with the new industries that are moving more and more close to our city.
Kelvin O. Buck
Mayor of Holly Springs