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Annexation about more than city boundaries

Brookhaven expansion efforts appear little, if any, closer toreality following another presentation last week by the city’sannexation consultant.

Statistics discussed Tuesday sounded similar to those presentedat a meeting in July. The consultant said last week’s totals hadbeen finalized.

So if city fathers have an idea of the costs involved, is adecision to move forward or not all that is needed? It’s far fromthat simple.

Some believe the 14.6-square mile study area is workable as aproposed annexation area. If that area is fully annexed, the city’ssize would triple to almost 22 square miles.

However, residents of Lakewood Village south of town have signeda petition and had an attorney present at Tuesday’s meeting to askthey be removed from the study area. There is some sentiment on theboard of aldermen to grant their request.

Racial considerations enter the picture when the predominatelyblack Brignall community north of town is eyed for annexation.Lakewood Village and areas southwest of the city could beconsidered counterbalances for city expansion into the Brignallcommunity.

Facts are facts, and it seems unlikely that one would be annexedwithout the other.

Leaving out both would leave city fathers with the difficulttask of crafting boundary lines for an area that is self-supportingwhile also addressing the city’s needs in the future.

Annexation represents a politically-charged mine field for cityfathers to navigate regardless of how they choose to tackle theissue.

Some officials believe Brookhaven is facing its “last chance” atannexation, but newly taken-in residents will no doubt be unhappywith their new status as city residents. They, of course, wouldlikely make their unhappiness felt on election day.

So is the answer simply to abandon city expansion efforts? Foraldermen, it’s not that easy either.

With Brookhaven’s population now under 10,000, the law says thecity is to be represented by five aldermen instead of the currentseven.

Doing nothing on annexation means two sets of incumbents — ifthey choose to seek re-election — would be facing off against eachother in the next city election following redistricting for fourwards instead of six. One alderman post would still be decided onan at-large basis.

In that scenario, it’s no doubt aldermen would be jockeying fornew ward lines that give them the best chance to stay in office.Interesting times could be on the horizon for the board ofaldermen.

Ward line concerns notwithstanding, the economic prosperity ofBrookhaven and Lincoln County rests with the decision onannexation.