Lubbock City Council wants to expand city limits, but some business owners don't want a city address. The plan is to annex about a half mile area near 98th and Avenue P into South Lubbock. However, six area business owners spoke to city council during a public hearing on Wednesday. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire explains why they're against the idea.
Much of the area near 98th and Avenue P is considered Lubbock County land right now. Over 200 homes are set to be built on the south side of 98th Street and it's city policy to annex the surrounding corners. Doing so would mean homes and businesses must pay city taxes and they would receive city services like fire water and trash removal. However, a handful of businesses on the northeast corner of 98th don't want to be annexed saying they cannot afford to pay those taxes.
Dale Ramsey's business All-Star storage has been on the corner of 98th and Avenue P for 16 years. It used to be miles away from city limits, however after years worth of construction the city line is getting closer.
A new housing development is set to go up in an adjacent empty field and that's why the city wants to annex the rest of the land. Ramsey and five other area business owners told city council members why they oppose the plan.
"We're happy to see development in this area, we're happy to see builders come in and build homes," said Ramsey, "but we're concerned about increased taxation per property value before there's a lot of rapid growth this way."
The business owners got together and contacted an attorney to come up with a counter annexation offer, under which they would be annexed and they would pay taxes, but not for another 15 years.
City council will now try to work toward an agreement. Mayor Pro-Tem Tom Martin said, "Their attorney will visit with our attorney and our planning department personnel to be able to reach an agreement."
Ramsey said some business owners fear they won't be able to afford the city's taxes forcing them to close. However, he says that may not happen if the city waits.
"They're developing 98th Street and widening that and that'll bring a lot more traffic by all our businesses and as a result we feel we'll be healthier and more able to pay the taxes," commented Ramsey.
Also under the agreement, the existing businesses would comply with city building codes. The owners of Cycle Parts, a motorcycle parts lot, has even agreed to build a fence blocking the view of parts scattered throughout the yard.
City council will examine the issue and have its first reading on the annexation May 25th, the second and final reading will be in June.
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