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Property owners to vote in annexation referendum

Bill Morris, community development director for the city of Roswell, speaks at a public forum Thursday night at Church on the Move. (Alex Ross Photo)

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Some land owners with property just outside of Roswell will soon decide whether they want to have their properties annexed and brought into the city’s municipal boundaries.

Bill Morris, community development director with the city of Roswell, said Monday the ballots will be mailed Tuesday to the owners of the 10 lots in a Riverview Circle subdivision located northeast of the city, off Berrendo Road. The size of the properties ranges from 5.4 to 13.8 acres in size.

The referendum comes months after some residents of the area approached the city about possibly being brought into the city limits.

Morris said at the public forum, hosted last Thursday night at Church on the Move, that the property owners will have about a week to send the ballots back to the city. Ballots will then be tabulated and once the results are known, Morris said he will notify the property owners.

Morris explained at the meeting that annexation is the legal method by which a city extends its authority in terms of city rules, codes and taxing authority to land outside its existing municipal boundaries.

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The referendum is one of three ways a property can be annexed, Morris said. A property owner can also petition the city to get their property annexed. A municipal boundary commission is a third option. Under that option a commission made up of three individuals from outside the municipality and appointed by the state come, hear the case and then make a decision as to whether that property will or will not be annexed.

When properties are annexed, he said, the city looks at which type of zoning district will apply, and what type of utilities and services will be provided by the city to the property owners.

If the the subdivision on Riverview Circle is annexed, Morris said it will fall under the city’s rural-suburban designation. He added that within that zoning district, property owners would be able to keep livestock.

“So they get to keep the horses and whatever critters they have out there,” Morris said.

Uses for properties within the rural-suburban zoning district include agricultural uses, low density, single family residential developments and other uses that maintain the low density, residential nature of the district, according to the city of Roswell zoning ordinances.

Though properties that are annexed will have to pay city property taxes, Morris said the cost of the additional taxes are offset somewhat by reduced rates when it comes to water and sewer services.

Owners of annexed properties will also get access to city solid waste, road maintenance, police and fire services, Morris said.

He added that customers who live outside city limits but receive water are charged twice as much as those that live within the city’s municipal boundaries.

Joe Neeb, city manager of Roswell, said at the meeting that when property owners are deciding whether or not they want to be annexed, they consider whether it is more beneficial to be brought into the city’s municipal boundaries and pay the city taxes or remain outside of them and pay more for city services.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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