August 9, 2012

Annexation study seems a good move

— The Logansport City Council has agreed to spend up to $100,000 to study the feasibility of annexation.

While the price might seem high, the study is probably long overdue.

As Mayor Ted Franklin points out, the city hasn’t had a significant annexation in nearly 20 years.

Still,  the fact that the city takes a look at annexation doesn’t necessarily mean that expanding the city’s boundaries will make sense. That, after all, is the purpose of the study.

Consultants will take a look at likely targets for annexation and identify both the costs and the benefits.

Such a study will be essential not only for the residents of a targeted area but for the city itself. After all, annexing a given geographic area isn’t just a matter of changing the city limit signs.

The city has to put together a plan outlining how quickly it will begin to add city services such as sewers and water. The study will tell city officials how much providing those services might cost, and they’ll have a chance to weigh that cost against the new revenues they’re likely to collect from the annexed area.

The analysis will also help residents of a given area to weigh the pros and cons of becoming part of the city. They’ll find themselves paying a higher tax rate, but they might see other costs go down, such as the price of trash pickup and homeowner’s insurance.

Once city leaders have all of the facts, they’ll be able to make an informed decision about which areas might be viable targets for annexation and which might not.

It’s too early to say at this point how that analysis might come out, but it’s important that city officials have all of the facts so that they can make decisions based on sound reasoning.

Some have suggested that the city needs to grow, and maybe it does, but it does not necessarily have to grow by expanding its boundaries. One way the city can grow is by reclaiming its core, by restoring its existing housing and bringing residents back to existing neighborhoods.

Still, if the analysis shows that annexing certain areas surrounding the city makes economic sense, the city should certainly consider that course.

The numbers will tell the story, and city officials should wait to see the analysis before deciding on a course of action.