The City of Greenwood’s Annexation Committee met for the second time last Thursday. During this meeting, it was determined that the meetings would be conducted on an informal basis rather than by any set standard and voting would be limited to committee members who are not employed by the city.

Sonny Bell briefed the committee on the final status of the 2013 legislative session as it relates to annexation. The bill permitting the annexation by ordinance of areas surrounded on three sides by cities and on the remaining side by a military reservation became law. Additionally, the planning jurisdiction for cities was reduced from five miles to one.

The committee also approved a mission statement defining the purpose and scope of the Annexation Committee. The Mission Statement for the Mayor’s Annexation Committee states:

The long-term mission of the committee is to develop a plan for the future growth of the City of Greenwood. The committee, looking out to the year 2025, will identify how the projected population growth of the city and its immediate environs will influence the physical growth of the city. The committee will identify those areas where future development may require the extension of the city’s boundaries and its services. Each area will be analyzed separately to identify the impact on the city of extending services to the area.

For the purpose of analysis, the committee will address water, sewer, police, streets, and fire protection. The city department heads will provide the committee the data it requires. The committee will use the current Master Street, Water, and Sewer plans as the basis for its analysis. The committee will periodically consult with the Western Arkansas Planning and Development Agency in order to make use of its expertise.

The committee will produce written reports and appropriate maps for the Planning Commission. The reports will discuss and evaluate the benefits, potential problems, and costs of annexing the identified areas. The reports will be used by the Planning Commission to make any necessary changes to the city’s master plans and serve as the basis for evaluating any future annexation actions that it may recommend to the City Council."

A series of questions have been approved to facilitate gathering information about each area being looked at for annexation. The questions are divided into categories and cover a wide range of important issues concerning annexation.

Police: Will additional personnel and vehicles be required? How many? Will response times be increased? By how much? How many additional miles will be placed on vehicles?

Fire: Will additional personnel, stations and equipment be required? How many? Will response times be increased? By how much? What is the fire insurance rating for the area? Will the fire insurance rating for the area change? Will the fire insurance rating for the city be affected?

Water: How do existing water lines in area relate to Master Plan? Can the current system support the additional customers? Will current customers suffer degraded service? Who currently provides water to the area? How much will it cost to purchase existing lines from other water systems? How much will it cost to upgrade existing lines to city standards? What will be required to tie areas on to city water? Will additional personnel and equipment be required? What will cost be to current city residents?

Sewer: How does this area relate to Master Plan? Can the current system support additional customers? Will current customers suffer degraded service? What will be required to tie areas on to sewer? Will additional personnel and equipment be required?

Trash: Will the current contract be affected?

Street: How does this area relate to Master Plan? In what conditions are the existing streets? How much will it cost to bring streets up to minimum standards? How much will it cost to maintain streets? How much will it cost to maintain right of ways? Will additional personnel and equipment be required?

Drainage: Is any part of the area in a flood plain? Are there any possible drainage issues in this area?

Financial: How much income will the city see from: State turn-back; Property tax; Sales tax; Water, Sewer, and Trash fees; Franchise fees

Planning: How is area currently used? How do property owners intend to use area? What is the appropriate zoning for this area? What changes will the enforcement of city ordinances bring to the area? Where are any gas or oil pipelines located in the area? Where are any high voltage power lines located? How will animal control be affected?

Current Status: What percentage of streets, water lines and sewer lines are sub-standard? What is the estimated cost of bringing all city systems up to standard?

These City Department Heads have been asked to answer these questions for the first area under consideration by the May 23 meeting. The first section to be studied for annexation will be the area on either side of Highway 96 between Greenwood and Fort Chaffee, including Been Ridge Road.