Annexation: What do you think?
July 21, 2002
Nothing wakes up the public like a good land grab and, if nothing else, the city of Meridian is awakening a lot of ghosts with its move to acquire 11.8 square miles of territory that currently exists in Lauderdale County. Our guess is a survey would find that at least three-quarters of the 1,513 people who live in the proposed annexation area would rather not live in the city limits. As several told The Meridian Star, they intentionally moved out of the city for the promise of lower taxes and better schools.
Under the annexation proposal adopted by the city council last week, these residents won't have to worry about where their kids go to school. The state Supreme Court says school district lines are not to change just because of annexation, so the Northeast schools in the proposed annexation area will remain in the Lauderdale County School District.
Taxes paid by the current residents of the annexed area, on the other hand, will change. They will invariably go up to pay for such services as water and sewer, police and fire protection. If the annexation were taking effect today under current millage rates, the city would collect $1.3 million or so in new revenue based on about $23.4 million in assessed value.
Lauderdale County Tax Assessor Jimmy Slay, who was asked by The Meridian Star to provide assessment and tax revenue information (that is to say we have not asked for his position on annexation itself) calculates that Lauderdale County would lose revenue in the amount of about $160,000.
And, when new assessments are in place on the machinery, equipment, personal property, inventory and fixtures of companies doing business in the G.V. "Sonny' Montgomery Industrial Park, both the county and these companies may be in for a bit of a surprise.
For the moment, we are eager to learn more about the impact of this annexation proposal on our entire community, reserving judgment on its relative merit.