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Mayor explains origins of Kerrville annexation referendum

By Bill Short

Millington Interim Mayor Linda Carter told residents of the Kerrville area last week why the city will allow them to vote on whether they want to be annexed.

She presented the explanation last Thursday night at an informational meeting in the Harvell Civic Center Chapel.

Carter recalled that at least 10 years ago, when she was an alderman and a member of the Millington Municipal Airport Authority, there was “much discussion” about extending the airport’s 8,000-foot runway. She said that was about the same time that Federal Express contracted with the city for the airport to be the company’s alternate landing site.

The mayor said the Airport Authority members realized that they had to do something so no one would construct apartment complexes or houses of any type at the end of the runway.

“We spoke several times with Shelby County government, met with its Planning Office, and it said, ‘Yeah, you’re right,’” she noted. “And that was about as far as it went.”

In 2008, Carter did not seek re-election to the Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen and resigned from the Airport Authority.

During the next two years, she said, it became apparent that the runway would be extended approximately 2,000 feet in the “very near future” to accommodate FedEx’s larger airplanes. She said that 2,000-foot encroachment would further impact all the property at the end of the runway.

About 18 months ago, Carter recalled, an individual expressed interest in constructing an apartment complex or townhouses on property that is for sale at the intersection of Bethuel and Mudville roads. And she noted that last year, when the airplane crashed into the apartment complex in Norfolk, Va., shortly after takeoff, all of this became “even more real.”

So, Millington decided to consider annexing some of the residences that had been “carved out” when it annexed Edmund Orgill Park several years ago. And at the same time, annex two “very large parcels” at the north end of the runway.

“One of the parcels is owned by a gentleman who has a hunting club there,” Carter said. “He had called to see if that could be continued, and I said, ‘Certainly.’ No one has called about the other parcel.”

When it became apparent that the city was looking at that, Carter said, “someone down the road” asked if he could be annexed, and then another person wanted to be considered. So, the city decided to propose annexing almost to the county line and eastwardly along it.

Since then, she noted, events have occurred in Shelby County that clearly indicate “an excellent probability” that there will be consolidated government in the very near future.

Carter recalled that, when the Tennessee General Assembly passed Public Chapter 1101 in 1998, it established Reserve Annexation Areas for 20 years. So, if consolidated government occurs, or if the year 2018 arrives first, all of Millington’s Reserve Annexation Area will be gone.

Consequently, the mayor said, Millington must determine whether it will “land-lock” itself and “die a slow death” because of its inability to grow and meet demands, or if it will “reach out and seek other people” who might want to become a part of the city and its growth.

“Would I love to have you in the city?” she asked the Kerrville residents. “Sure, because we feel like you are a part of us anyway. But if you choose not to do that, that’s OK, too.”

While acknowledging that she understands the residents’ “fear and trepidation,” the mayor said she wanted to be sure they understand what it will cost them to be annexed, as well as if they choose not to be.

Residents who are on a septic tank can keep it after annexation, she noted. She does not anticipate that Millington will extend sewer lines in the foreseeable future, because there is “not enough development” in the Kerrville area for the city to “bear the cost” or require the residents to pay the cost of connecting.

Regarding water services, Carter said Kerrville residents are currently either on a well or with Memphis Light, Gas & Water. And that will remain the same if they are annexed.

She noted that the county’s storm water fee is $1.50 for residential, and Millington’s is $2.50. But while the county is proposing a $25-a-month sanitation fee, Millington’s is $21 a month for once-a-week curbside pickup with a can.

“Then, you can go to the North Shelby Landfill if you’ve got big items,” she said. “And you get to go in free as a resident of the city of Millington.”

Carter said ambulance services will still be provided by Rural Metro. Fire services will be provided by the Millington Fire Department, with Shelby County for “backup.” Noting that there is no fire fee in Millington, she said the city’s property tax covers those costs.

Regarding police services, Carter said the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is currently “first in,” and that is covered by the county property tax. But if the Kerrville area is annexed, those services will be provided by the Millington Police Department, with backup if necessary from the county.

After annexation, county property taxes will remain the same, Carter said, at $4.06 for each $100 of assessed valuation.

“Determine what your Millington property tax rate is,” she told the Kerrville residents. “Take whatever that county tax amount was, multiply it by .30, and that’s going to be pretty close to a little less than a third of what that rate is.”

Carter also said the current zoning will remain the same after annexation.

“We’re going to be adding some other sections of zoning of estate-sized lots,” she noted, “because the largest lot we have right now in Millington is about 2.5 acres. Some of you have lots of 20, 25 or 100 acres.”

The mayor said the Zoning Ordinance will also have designations for Agricultural Residential and Agricultural Farming for the purpose of usage that will allow animals.

 

 

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