Member Gorman Collins voiced concerns about the city giving incentives to some property owners annexed into the city, while providing no incentives to others. Collins said he disagreed with the way the city annexes property.
Collins disagreed with the city's decision to offer tax incentives to property owners on Stonecrest and at the Holiday Inn, while allowing other property owners who want to be annexed no incentive. For some property owners, the city has granted a five-year deferment on city property taxes when they agree to be annexed.
Collins also discussed the city's annexation attempt of the hospital, saying that the council should have offered them an incentive in writing.
Mayor Jerry Fannin said there was nothing wrong with the city's decision to give incentives because it ensures that the city will benefit five years down the road, when taxes start being paid, whereas the city would not benefit at all, financially, if the properties weren't annexed to begin with.
Member Kelly Moore said other property owners have approached him since the city's meeting two weeks ago and told him that they would considering being annexed by the city.
“I think we need to be more efficient in how we grow the city,” Collins said. “There are three or four sections inside the city that are completely surrounded by areas that are already annexed, and they're not, and they're receiving benefits of it.”
Collins, referring to a complaint last year he made about the city annexing properties and leaving “donut holes” of unannexed properties, said the city annexes “little fingers” of properties in the city. He spoke about properties along a more than four-mile section of road between Prestonsburg and the hospital that would not be annexed if the hospital is annexed.
Police Chief Mike Omerod said that his officers, for years, have had to drive “outside of the city to get back into the city” to patrol Goble Roberts.
“We've always had this problem,” he said.
“We made that mistake then,” Collins said. “Does that mean that we need to make it now?”
Fannin said that the city has probably tripled in acreage within the last 10 years. “And it's been a little at a time,” he said.
“Either we grow or we don't grow,” Fannin said to Collins. “What do you want us to do?”
Later, member Donna Wells said she believed that the city was held back 20 years when the boundary lines were “held back.”
“You have to go forward,” she said.
Collins pointed out that the city “has no plan for growth except when people ask” to be annexed. He said he'd continue asking the council to formulate a better plan for growth.
Fannin suggested that council members sit down and draw out a map of what the city wants to offer for annexation.
Following the discussion, members unanimously passed the ordinance, annexing Stephens Branch.