Annexation necessary for city’s continued growth

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 9, 2007

Word of the state Supreme Court’s approval of Brookhaven’sannexation spread quickly last week. The affirmation was met withexcitement by some and consternation by others.

Excitement was felt mostly on the part of city officials eagerto welcome new people to the city while a number of thosesoon-to-be Brookhavenites surely felt some distress over theprospect of paying more in taxes and perceived limitations on howthey can use their land. In its totality, the annexation bringsmore reasons to be glad than sad.

A major benefit of the annexation will be additional sales taxdollars to help city officials meet their new expansion-relatedobligations.

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Sales tax is the primary fuel that runs the “economic engine”that Brookhaven was referred to as in the 2003-04 trial and in lastweek’s court decision. Property taxes and other revenue sourcesalso help to keep the engine running, but not to the extent ofsales taxes.

If viewed as a race, Brookhaven’s car in recent years has beenpassed by those of other communities that have themselves expandedor that have benefited from rapid economic growth. To improve or atleast maintain its position, which was once among the state’s Top20 sales tax collectors, Brookhaven needed to annex and be able toaccess a portion of sales tax dollars being generated just outsidethe city limits.

Some will lament the prospect of having to pay city propertytaxes. No one relishes that fact.

But annexation also suggests the prospect of lower fireinsurance premiums as a result of better fire protection offered bycity services.

Communities must be able to grow in order to continue to providethe necessary level of services to citizens. In filings with thecourt, objectors acknowledged this fact, but one of their mainobjections was the size of the proposed annexation that will almosttriple the city’s current size.

Only time will tell if Brookhaven officials have requested morethan they can handle, but the state Supreme Court found theproposed area to be reasonable.

Brookhaven officials said they desire to promote harmony andunity in the new enlarged city limits. Now is the time for currentBrookhavenites and their new neighbors in the city to work togetherto make Brookhaven the best it can be.