End still to be written in annexation ‘book’

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2003

To this point, Brookhaven’s annexation trial has been arelatively by-the-book affair with the city’s side going chapter bychapter and objectors trying to find holes in the story’s plot.

So far, only the city’s version of why annexation is needed hasbeen heard. Objectors get their chance to turn some trial pagesthis week.

The trial has focused on areas outside the city and the city’sability to provide services like water and sewer and police andfire protection. City witnesses have also touted benefits of zoningand city services on addressing potential health hazards.

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Documents prepared by annexation consultants suggest the citycan feasibly handle the expansion. Objectors, though, have beenthwarted in some of their efforts to determine the actual dollarsand cents impact on citizens.

One city witness last week said there were too many variables incalculating the impact of $14 million in water and sewerimprovements for the annexation area.

Given the level of uncertainty with the annexation, determininghard figures would be difficult. It is a bit troubling, though,that funding mechanisms for doing the work have not been betterdefined.

City witnesses have mentioned bond issues, loans and federalgrant assistance as possibilities. Certain types of bond issueshave the potential to be voted down by a motivated citizenry, loansmust be paid back somehow, and there are no guarantees of “federalmoney” coming to the rescue.

Still, the city’s representatives say they are cautiouslyoptimistic about annexation’s chances. But objectors say they feelgood, as well.

Making a prediction on the trial’s outcome now would be liketrying to write a review halfway through a book. City officials arehoping they know the conclusion, but objectors would like asurprise ending.