James Simpson, president of the Shadow Lake homeowners’ association, speaks Thursday night, Aug. 22, 2013, during a Greenwood annexation meeting
At a meeting that ended on a hostile note Thursday in Greenwood, a city committee agreed it makes financial sense to annex the Shadow Lake community.
“We have determined that it’s feasible for the city to continue to study the annexation of this area,” Greenwood Annexation Committee chairman Robert McKinney said. “Next it will come up to the Planning Commission sometime in the future.”
In July, about 50 people attended a Shadow Lake-related annexation meeting at City Hall. Although the crowd was smaller this month, it was markedly more vocal.
“Why do you want to take our rights away from us?” Ron Jackson asked from the crowd.
After making its decision, the commission opened the floor for a parade of anti-annexation speakers.
“I fought for our country and our rights,” 14-year Shadow Lake resident Bob Page said. “This is flat taking our rights away from us.”
Resident Jennifer Morgan read from a prepared statement.
“We chose to live at Shadow Lake because it’s outside the city limits, peaceful, quiet and enabled us to enjoy relaxing time on the water,” she said. “I believe that if Shadow Lake is annexed into Greenwood that our lake will not be so peaceful anymore.”
Some residents wanted assurances the city would not take over their lake.
“The lake is private property, period,” McKinney responded. “The city doesn’t want your lake. I don’t want the liability of that dam that’s going to fail in the next 50 years.”
James Simpson, president of the Shadow Lake homeowners’ association, sat with the panel during its review. He said an anonymous poll taken of 187 Shadow Lake residents showed 80 percent are opposed to annexation.
“It’s going to get brought up regardless, and I can see in the foreseeable future that it is probably going to get annexed in,” Simpson said.
The Planning Commission is expected to make its own recommendation to the City Council. Ultimately, a vote of both Greenwood and Shadow Lake residents would be required for annexation.
“Right now, I probably would vote no because I still need more data,” said commission member and former Mayor Garry Campbell. “I understand the hostility here tonight. If somebody came around my property and said the government wants your property, I know how I would feel.”
Based on an estimated 120 Shadow Lake properties, Greenwood would receive an additional $24,292 in property taxes annually, according to the committee. It was also estimated that Greenwood would pull in between $69,000 and $82,000 a year in additional state turn-back taxes.
After losing $18,000 a year in out-of-town fees now charged for water service at Shadow Lake, the city would net about $79,000 a year, according to the committee.
“The bottom line is if the city annexes this area, we’re saying it makes financial sense to do it,” McKinney said. “It’s not a losing proposition.”
According to the committee, if annexed, an average Shadow Lake homeowner would pay $199 more a year in property taxes and $166.44 less for water and trash service.
“The total cost for an average homeowner would be $32 a year in additional expense,” McKinney said.
Jackson told his neighbors that, “Every time government steps in, we lose liberties.”
“Why would we want to lose liberties for $32?”