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Posted on: March 18, 2019

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ANNEXATION

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT

ANNEXATION



It is important to have as much information as possible out there about annexation before, during and after this proposed Board of Aldermen action. Some of these questions were considered by the Board as we were deliberating about the annexation and some have come up through correspondence with groups to whom presentations have been given and individuals from whom questions have been received. There are no doubt many others, but as of now these are the ones we have heard and addressed.


These are not in any particular order, but most often the greatest concern is the tax increase on the next tax bill. 


HOW MUCH WILL MY TAXES GO UP? 


There is a formula that can be applied. The variables will be a matter of homestead exemption, age and a possible reduction for the cost of the volunteer fire service you currently pay for as part of the Oktibbeha County tax rate.


The straight forward way and most conservative way to address this without bringing in variables is:  


The city’s current millage rate is 26.63. If your house has a true value of $100,000 and you have no exemptions or over 65 reductions, the tax will be $266.30 annually or $22.19 per month. That would be the worst-case scenario for that value of a residential home. As the value of the home increases, the tax will increase as well. 


Any of the other variables will most likely reduce it from there. 


WHAT BENEFITS DO I GET FROM BEING ANNEXED? 


There are many benefits to be gained from inclusion in the city limits, starting with improved service from the fire department. This is in no way an insult to the Volunteer Fire Departments that serve the County. This is simply a recognition that as a volunteer fire department that is not their primary function and despite all best efforts it is almost an impossibility to beat a full-time, paid professional fire department to the site of a fire. It is an unquestioned advantage to be there as quickly as possible in order to contain the damage. Your taxes will go directly to the advantage of a professional fire department with a full time on-call, fully staffed fire station that can respond quickly to any emergency call.  


Likewise, I have no intention of diminishing the significance and value of the Sheriff’s department. The police department is staffed per square mile more than the Sheriff’s department can be. Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s department is an accredited, professional group who serve admirably with as much dedication as any law enforcement agency. They are tasked with serving over 450 square miles with the same number of deputies that our police staff serve a total of 28 square miles. That allows for a guaranteed more immediate response just by virtue of the indisputable geographical difference. 


You will have twice weekly sanitation pickup and 1 day a week recycling pickup. We also pickup yard rubbish once a week. You will be able to vote for (or against) those of us who will be representing you. 


In the next few years you will see added street lighting and additional infrastructure for water for fire hydrants and sewer lines.


WHAT WILL CHANGE WHEN WE ARE ANNEXED INTO THE CITY? 


The most visible items that will be impacted by the expansion of the Starkville city limits will be seeing our police department patrolling the newly annexed streets.


The sanitation pickup will be transitioned to the City of Starkville sanitation department. We will work with the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors for that transition. We will be picking up trash 2 times a week. Which days will be the days for the newly annexed area have not been determined, but will be finalized and communicated to the affected residents clearly and in multiple ways. There will be recycling on Wednesdays and rubbish pickup will be scheduled for the first day of the week that you receive your trash pickup. 


Any response to a 911 medical call will be through the Starkville fire department, Starkville Police Department and Pafford Ambulance services. 


There will be an education period as it regards new construction requirements and code enforcement. Any new construction or additions will be subject to permitting and building inspection. There will be no need for existing construction to have to come into compliance with existing codes. The residential structures will only be impacted if there are plans for adding to the building or constructing an additional structure on the property. Code enforcement is usually a phone call or a letter about tall grass or trash. 


Code enforcement will be a major part of the education process for what might be viewed differently and considered in violation of city ordinances. We will educate before we have any reason to issue letters of deficiency or citations.


WHEN WILL I GET CITY INFRASTRUCTURE FIRE PROTECTION AND SEWER SERVICES? 


The timeline for the city to do the necessary engineering work and actually laying the infrastructure lines will be developed and provided to those areas impacted. Those existing populated areas should be in a 3-5 year window of installation. 


WHAT WARD WILL I BE IN?


The Wards are going to be dependent on the 2020 Census as well as the annexation. We are hopeful the census and annexation will be timed so that we will be able to work that process simultaneously. The wards of the newly annexed areas will most likely be determined to be Ward 5 or Ward 4 based on the contiguous nature of the existing wards but all ward lines will have to be redrawn. 


IS BLACKJACK ROAD A PART OF THE ANNEXATION? 


No, Blackjack Road is not part of the proposed annexation. 

WILL Taxes for current city residents change? 


Property taxes for the current city residents will remain the same and will be at the identical rate to the newly annexed areas. 


WHAT WILL BE THE AMBULANCE SERVICE TO THE NEW AREAS? 


The emergency ambulance service will be provided by Pafford who is in a contract with the City of Starkville for 911 medical response. 


WHAT ROLE DOES POPULATION PLAY IN ATTRACTING NEW BUSINESSES TO STARKVILLE? 


The greater the population the better the opportunity to attract the businesses that have a minimum population requirement to consider opening another location. Such places as Olive Garden or Long Horn Steakhouse or Target all require a minimum population component before they will ever consider an area for additional service. 


The increase in population also increases our rebates from the State as it relates to internet tax diversion and any other population driven formulas for funding coming from either the state or the national level. 


WHAT PART OF THE ANNEXED AREA WILL PROVIDE NEW REVENUE TO THE CITY?


The revenue that will be new from the annexed area will be the ad valorem taxes and food and beverage taxes. 


The sales taxes the city will receive are already being collected but are not returning to the either the county or the city. Once the area is annexed, the sales tax will come back to the city at the rate of 18.5% of that amount collected. 


HOW WILL THE STARKVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT WORK IN THE NEW AREAS IN THE ABSENCE OF FIRE HYDRANTS? 


The Starkville Fire Department has 3 pumper trucks that carry 1000 gallons of water when they arrive at a fire. Historically 80% of the fires will be satisfactorily extinguished with that initial load of water. Until we have installed the water infrastructure that will support fire hydrants in those areas, we will do what we have done for decades using mutual aid agreements with the local volunteer fire departments. The biggest advantage to fighting a fire is the ability to arrive quickly before the fire is fully engaged. Our ability to quickly address the fire will be of great significance in reducing the need to call on the volunteer services. 


DOES THE City get funds from the county for roads and bridges? 


Yes, the City does receive funds annually from the County for the maintenance and repair of bridges within the city. In the fiscal year 2018-2019 we budgeted to receive approximately $735,000 to address those issues. Those are fund that are directly derived from the taxes a city resident pays to the county for the municipal proportion of streets and bridges. 


WILL THERE BE ANY DIFFERENCE IN THE ABILITY TO HUNT ON MY PROPERTY? 


Being brought into the City of Starkville will not alter your current ability to exercise your hunting rights on your property. The State of Mississippi has determined that newly annexed areas will continue to function using the state law that is currently in effect and that currently governs all rights to hunt in Mississippi. That state statute is MS Code 45-9-53.


WILL THE CITY PROVIDE CURB AND GUTTER FOR THE EXISTING STREETS IN THE NEWLY ANNEXED AREAS? 


The City has no plans to provide curb and gutter in existing areas. There are currently multiple areas of residential in the existing city limits that do not have curb and gutter and there are no plans to add them in existing developments. New developments possibly will be expected to develop with curb and gutter but that is dependent on the project and how it fits with existing and future developments. 


The city will maintain the public roads and any existing public gravel roads will be placed on a capital improvement plan. In the meantime, we will maintain them in a reasonable condition and respond to concerns about the need for attention to the residents as we do to our current residents. 


HOW WILL THE CITY TREAT THE OPEN BURNING OF DEBRIS AND LIMBS AND YARD WASTE?


There is a $3.00 charge for a residential burn permit. That permit is issued by the fire department. 


If the burning is in conjunction with a construction site then a burn permit must be obtained from the fire department for $150.00. If the construction is a large commercial burn project with the potential to impact surrounding neighbors then it will also need board of aldermen approval. 


HOW WILL THE CITY TREAT THE CONSTRUCTION OF AND BUILDING PERMITS FOR FARM BUILDINGS?


Once an area is within the city limits there is a requirement for obtaining a building permit for any construction project that exceeds $1000.00. The review of the building department includes such things as yard setbacks and zoning. 


Any construction project that exceeds that threshold will need to provide some drawings and plans to determine the setbacks and zoning compliance and safety standards for construction and installation of plumbing and electricity. If it is an outbuilding or accessory structure the requirements for engineering are minimal. 


HOW WILL MY PROPERTY BE ZONED?


At this point we do not have that answer. Zoning will be considered while we are in the process of looking at updating our existing code. That update is currently in process with hopes that a first draft will be ready for public comment in April. 


For any newly annexed areas, we will be considering the existing uses and the potential uses based on location and surrounding growth and development patterns. That determination will be part of the public information and comment period prior to adoption of the place type zoning in the new areas. 

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