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Kerrville residents express concerns about annexation 

By Bill Short

Several Kerrville residents publicly expressed concerns last month about the possibility that their area could be annexed into the city of Millington.

At a Sept. 13 special called meeting, the Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen responded to those concerns during a final public hearing on a “referendum of annexation” that the board previously scheduled by unanimously adopting a resolution calling for it. In the Nov. 6 election, Kerrville residents will be able to vote on whether they want to be annexed into the city. The referendum will be on the ballot in only the polling places where those residents vote. During the public hearing, Brenda Swift of 8931 Bethuel Road expressed concern about the cost of connecting to the city’s sewage system. Because her driveway is three-tenths of a mile long, she said the connection will be very expensive. But Interim Mayor Linda Carter said Swift would not be required to do that until those services were extended down her street. And then, she would have “a period of time” to complete the connection.

When Swift asked if residents with septic tanks could be “grandfathered in,” Alderman Keith Barger said everyone in his neighborhood still has one, although they have been inside the city for “quite a while.”

Noting that she owns horses, Kim Looney of 8923 Bethuel Road said she understands that she will be allowed to keep them if the referendum is approved. Carter said she will still be able to have them if she decides to sell her property, as long as the “use” is continued.

“We’re in the process of rewriting the animal ordinance,” the mayor added. “I just got a preliminary one today that the planning commission and the board will be looking at that will specify that.”

Carter said the rewritten ordinance will also address the fencing of large and small animals.

Nichole Moore of 8953 Bethuel Road said she has heard that, if the referendum is defeated and Millington creates its own school system, her children will be bused to “unified schools in Memphis.” Carter said that would depend on whether the unified school system would allow Millington to continue to educate students who live outside the city limits.

“That decision has not been made,” she acknowledged, “so I can’t answer that question.”

But Barger said it is unlikely that Moore’s children would be allowed to attend the Millington schools.

“The whole purpose of the municipal schools is to educate the kids who are inside the city limits,” he noted. “It will not be our responsibility to educate kids outside of the municipal school system.”

Identifying himself as a “horseman,” Jim Holt of 8943 Bethuel Road said if someone sells property “in use,” the person who buys it might not be able to have a barn or to expand it.

“If that barn is getting dilapidated, can he build another barn?” Holt asked rhetorically. “Can he expand that barn? That would be very important to know.”

Mary Alice Jones of 6579 Kerrville-Rosemark Road asked what the area’s residents will primarily receive if the referendum is approved.

Carter cited a two-to-three-minute response time by Millington police officers, the city’s sanitation fees instead of those that Shelby County may charge, the same fire service they currently get and the elimination of fire fees. She also mentioned the opportunity for their children to attend Millington schools and to be a part of “a growing community.”

Noting that she and her husband live on the greenbelt, Pauline Mashburn of 6663 Old Tipton Road said they have a “farm operation” with horses and cattle, and he cuts hay. When she asked how the annexation would affect that, Carter said it would still be a farm.

City Engineer Darek Baskin said if Mashburn’s property is currently zoned Agricultural in Shelby County, it will retain that zoning inside Millington. And Barger noted that some land in the greenbelt is currently inside the city limits.

Mashburn said she has calculated that her taxes will be “somewhat higher” if the Kerrville area is annexed.

“If you’re getting the greenbelt rate,” Barger said, “you’ll continue to get it, as long as you meet the requirements set by the county and the state.”

Mashburn asked whether Millington considers the value of its residents’ homes vs. the value of their property when it calculates their taxes. Carter said it is done the same way as in the county.

“The Shelby County Assessor’s Office determines the value of your property,” Barger noted. “We simply work off of that number.”

Ruby Stroud of 9555 Highway 51 North said her driveway is more than 500 feet long. While describing herself as in “fairly good shape” for a woman her age, she said dragging a garbage container from her house to the end of the driveway would not be “pleasant.”

“I have a yard man I have to pay to mow my yard,” she said, “and he takes my garbage away. I pay a fee for that every week.”

Stroud also said she has a septic tank that has worked “just fine.”

While acknowledging that she pays a fee for fire protection, she expressed uncertainty about whether the fire department will ever respond. When Carter promised her that it will, Stroud said she does not know where it will obtain water.

“My pond’s dry, and I don’t have a fire hydrant out there,” she noted. “So, I don’t know what they’re going to hook up to.”

Carter said there are fire hydrants on the highway.

When her house was constructed, Stroud said, she had to pay $6,000 for Memphis Light, Gas & Water to “come over the highway” with her electricity and under it with her water. She also noted that the idea of paying Millington city taxes “bothers” her.

“That’s why we’re allowing you all to vote,” Carter told her.

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October 2012
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