City releases annexation proposal info

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis City Solicitor’s Office recently released letters and data to property owners of lands being considered for potential annexation processes into municipal limits.

Gallipolis City Commission has contemplated the possible annexation of the Spring Valley area into municipal limits since November of last year. Commissioners have long discussed ongoing budget concerns with Gallipolis government and means of increasing revenue.

The Gallipolis Daily Tribune utilized privilege of the floor at the November meeting to ask questions of commissioners.

“It’s something that’s been kicked around for several years,” said Commissioner Mike Fulks at the meeting. “We want to approach folks and pitch it out and see if there is an interest or not.”

“We need the money,” said Commissioner Tony Gallagher. “Basically, we don’t want to say that but it’s what we’re looking at because we don’t have enough money to run the city right now.”

“The way it is right now,” said Commissioner Beau Sang,”the money we do receive from residents in the (Spring Valley) area that we’re looking at has to stay in the enterprises (water and wastewater funds). If we do this, money can go to the general fund to give us more flexibility to do things that those people use every day, like roads and the infrastructure of the city. It can help make things better for everybody. The common misconception I think that people will see is that we’re going after their money. We’ve done numbers that will accompany the letter that we’ll send out that will help explain it. What they’ll find is in some cases, some people will actually keep more money in their pockets, but it’s all based on individual circumstances.”

“We’ve been looking at it on an individual basis at this point and I think we’re (commissioners) all in agreement that it will be a great benefit for the individuals in most cases,” said Sang when asked if the city had an estimate on revenue generated from an income tax. “Unless you’re making a half million dollars a year, it may not be, but for the normal average Joe out there, in some cases, they’re going to be putting money in their pocket.”

Individuals who currently live or work within Gallipolis municipal limits are subject to a one percent income tax as well as its ordinances.

Much of what is informally called Spring Valley by area residents is recognized as the shopping plazas, businesses, organizations and homes along Jackson Pike and its connecting streets. In November, commissioners said what they may look to annex was still being discussed, however, it would focus in areas with municipal water service.

Gallipolis City Solicitor Brynn Saunders Noe, as Gallipolis’ legal counsel, has listed five points in her letter describing what officials call benefits for residents in becoming a part of Gallipolis.

The first point listed states,”The City of Gallipolis has the power to regulate growth, through zoning and code enforcement. These powers allow the City to make rules governing how, when and where buildings may be erected and also how they must be maintained. Zoning and coding enforcement protect the property value of neighborhoods by ensuring that buildings do not fall into serious disrepair and further increase property value by creating specialized zones such as revitalization project districts.”

The second point states,”The City also offers many other services including police and fire department protection, and the ability to create parks and other recreation facilities. Centralization of services will help protect the limited resources of the City and County so that vital services continue to receive adequate funding.”

The third point states,”Annexation will allow residents to benefit from coordinated urban planning and protect against uncoordinated, uninvited growth around the City which would result in loss of tax base and eventual inability to properly fund existing or future municipal services.”

The fourth point states,”In addition to increasing the City’s tax base to fund continuing services to all customers, City residents enjoy reduced rates for the provision of other utility services from third parties. For example, the City regularly negotiates reduced electric rates for its citizens.”

The fifth point states,”Although it is possible that a municipality could condition the provision of current utility services upon an agreement to annex, the current City Commission has no plans to do so.”

Gallipolis City Commissioners invite members of the public to attend city meetings to discuss concerns and ask questions. Officials meet the first Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. as well as the third Tuesday. Meetings typically take place at 333 Third Avenue at the Gallipolis Municipal Building. The meeting room can be accessed from the 2 1/2 Alley entrance. The next commissioner meetings are slated for May 7 at 6 p.m. and tentatively May 21 at 6 p.m.

Further information regarding costs and benefits of annexation will be published in a future edition of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright