How were we so fortunate as to be able to resist attempts to annex our property when many others have failed?
A summary of 2008 Salem Community annexation attempts by Benton and Bryant

We convinced city dwellers that annexation was not in their best interests, and the way that the annexations were being done was unfair. If we had failed to do that, we would have lost the battle. Under current state law as of 1/2013, city dwellers decide annexation elections. Those who are about to be annexed can vote, but since city residents always far outnumber the people who are about to be annexed, people already inside the city cast the deciding votes. Most people agree that this system is unfair, and that those who are about to be annexed should be able to decide against annexation.

Annexation would have been bad for city dwellers because they would either have tax increases to provide city services to rural areas, or resources would be spread thin. The cost for building and maintaining a sewer system in a rural area has a much higher cost per household, than in a city where houses and buildings are closer together. The same applies to most other city services including roads and police and fire services. Most people do not want to pay higher taxes and receive nothing in return.

We conveyed our anti-annexation message via newspaper articles and letters to the editor, community meetings which were televised on the local access cable channel, public hearings, web pages, internet forums, social media, direct mail, and word of mouth. We attended city council meetings, and when annexation was on the agenda, it seemed that most of the attendees were against annexation. Most were threatened with annexation, and a few were victims of earlier annexations who were unsatisfied with city services or the lack of promised services. We were referred to as a vocal minority, but in any case we got our message out and the annexation proposals were defeated.

Benton and Bryant have both had problems with flooding in certain areas. We reminded city residents of several recent incidents of flooding, and that nothing had been done to fix their long-time flooding issues. Bryant was trying to double the geographic size of their city, but the mayor of Bryant had recently admitted on TV that the city did not have the money to fix their flooding problems. People wondered why the city would want to expand their boundaries and take on more responsibilities when they could not handle what they had already. We mailed a flyer to all Bryant voters that referenced this and other issues.

We pointed out that there are fair ways of annexing and growing cities which has worked well for Conway and other cities. It is annexation by petition the property owners outside the city sign a petition to be annexed.

It is interesting that the mayors and many council members of Bryant and Benton lost their bids for re-election. Although there were certainly many issues to consider at election time, the argument that the annexation attempts were legal were probably not well received by the voters. Most people realize that Arkansas annexation law is completely unfair, and just because it is legal does not make it the right thing to do. We wonder why the unfair Arkansas law has not been changed already, but at least there were some good changes in 2013. Rural residents near Cherokee Village in Northwest Arkansas were also able to resist annexation attempts in 2012. In 2015 Alma, Arkansas tries to almost double the size of their city, but there is some opposition. The rest of this page is history that we should not forget.


   Bryant Arkansas annexation - Springhill and Hilldale / Midland

Maps and more

Bryant, Arkansas annexation elections include:
Northlake, part of Salem, Springhill, Midland, and Hilldale Communities
November 4, 2008

Thank you for voting NO

Why we opposed the annexations to double the geographic size of Bryant

 
VOTER ALERT!

If you are in an annexation
area, please make sure the
annexation question is on
your ballot BEFORE you
complete it. More

Bryant estimates it will need the
following additional workers
the first year if annexation
takes place:

    6 police officers
    9 firefighters
    1 animal control officer
    2 street laborers
    18 Total

Will taxes be raised to pay for all this expense, will money have to be diverted from other areas, will the city have to go further in debt? Additional revenue from property taxes will not be nearly enough to pay for the added expenses. We are already paying sales tax on purchases that we make in the city, so there will be no additional revenue there. The city will receive additional income from state turn-back funds, but this is just money that will be diverted from the county to the city. There will be an increase in utility sales taxes, but will that increased in income be enough to pay for all the increased services the city will have to provide in large rural areas?

Benton Alderman Greg White admitted that Benton probably could not afford to annex 1,200 acres without a tax increase. How can Bryant afford to annex 11,000 acres -- an area almost 10 times as large with even less population density?
 
Contact:

  • Cheryl Lane
    (has flyers and signs)
      501-821-2250

  • Faber Grable
      501-316-9379

  • Tracy Elliott
      501-316-2224

  • Charlotte Roberts
      501-794-0427

  • Paul Merritt (evenings)
      501-316-4740

  • Henry Jezierski (evenings)
      501-316-1182
Annexation History 2008

Benton election August 12th: Canceled
Bryant election September 9: Canceled
Benton election October 14th: Defeated
Bryant elections November 4th: Defeated


Growth and Annexation the right way

The City of Conway, Arkansas is an example of the right way to grow. Conway does not hold annexation elections. Individuals and developers who own property bordering the city can petition to have their property annexed into the city. Some property owners may be annexed against their will if most of their neighbors desire to be in the city. However, annexation by petition is a more fair method than allowing an entire city to vote and decide the fate of a few people outside the city. Benton and Bryant should slow down and allow their cities to grow naturally rather than forcing people into the city against their will. The Bryant web page has a detailed annexation by petition procedure.

Developers who build subdivisions also build the infrastructure - roads, sewer, etc. People who buy the houses in those subdivisions pay the cost of the infrastructure. It makes sense for those subdivisions to be annexed into the city, without everyone in the city having to share the cost of the new infrastructure. On the other hand building a sewer system where there are a few existing homes is a different matter because all city residents will likely end up paying for the new infrastructure by paying higher utility bills and / or higher taxes.


How is it fair and who is responsible for allowing annexation to occur even though people in the area to be annexed are opposed to it?


 
Thanks to Applied Graphics for
providing hundreds of yard signs
The information presented here is believed to be correct, but please verify it for yourself.

ACTION - Please help us in our fight against annexation

VOTE: Why should people in the annexation area bother to vote when we can easily be outvoted?

Hand out flyers: Help us hand out flyers to Bryant neighborhoods. Contact Cheryl Lane for flyers, 501-821-2250. Flyer front

Write a letter to the editor: Faber Grable writes about how you can help reach voters with our message.



Copyright 2008 by Charles Young chdyoung@gmail.com
Permission is given to use any and all of the material on this page in any way.

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