BREAKING NEWS 3-Officials weigh pros, cons for annexing industrial tracts

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 21, 2016

Officials weigh pros, cons for annexing industrial tracts

By John Howell
Urban planner Mike Slaughter told Batesville city officials Tuesday that most of his municipal clients preferred for industrial property to be within city limits.
Slaughter met with the mayor and aldermen at a “work session” prior to their regularly scheduled Third Tuesday meeting and cited annexations in Olive Branch, Grenada and Clarksdale where industrial areas have been included.
“Overall, in general terms, it’s beneficial for industrial properties to be in the city,” Slaughter said.
During a Feb. 16 work session on annexation urban planner Rupert “Rudy” Johnson of the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District and Panola Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons told city officials that municipal building and code restrictions and other obligations, like ad valorem taxes, could make non-annexed industrial areas in other communities more attractive for industrial prospects comparing sites and communities.
Slaughter came to Tuesday’s work session at the invitation of the mayor and aldermen during an ongoing discussion of pending annexation that could include the Airport Industrial Park under development on Highway 35 North, east of I-55.
Sites along the Highway 6 corridor east and west of the present city limits are also under consideration for annexation. Expansion of corporate limits in those locations would extend present city limits approximately 1.5 miles east and west and 500 to 600 feet on the north and south sides of the Highway.
Following Slaughter’s presentation, aldermen voted unanimously to engage his firm, Slaughter and Associates of Oxford, to make a preliminary study to determine assessed value, potential revenue from sales and ad valorem taxes and what city services would be required such as additional fire protection.
“My biggest question to you is that industrial park,” Alderman Stan Harrison said, “the pros and cons of either annexing it or not annexing it; I need a professional, good answer on that.”
Slaughter said that advantages for inclusion in city limits include lower fire insurance premiums, police protection and planning and zoning guidelines.
“Often they save more in fire insurance premiums than they pay in city taxes,” Slaughter said.
“That doesn’t mean a company won’t say, ‘Oh, I’d rather not be in the city.’ That can happen any time,” Slaughter said.

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