Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau stands at Grovetown's city limits, which the city hopes to expand to include new housing developments that are planned for the area.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Harlem officials say they'd like to see an expansion of their city's boundaries, but before that waistline can grow they want to hear more from nearby county residents and the nearby city of Grovetown.
"We want to see what directions are feasible for us," said Harlem Mayor Scott Dean on Wednesday.
Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau said he would like to talk with Harlem to coordinate the two cities' growth as well. The two cities will now meet at 11 a.m. Thursday at Grovetown City Hall.
"The city of Grovetown is creeping down the Harlem-Grovetown Road (toward Harlem)," Trudeau said. "We want to make sure we have a good geographical area where we can say this is Harlem and this is Grovetown."
For Dean and his city, he said annexation is something that in the past has been more of a concern for Grovetown.
"Harlem has not had much annexation," he said, but added "We're beginning to feel a push on that."
At a Tuesday meeting, Harlem officials listened to what residents thought about the possibility of annexing certain county properties into Harlem's border, which currently extends out to a 3/4 mile circle from the heart of the city.
Harlem officials were expecting only a few dozen people to attend their Tuesday meeting, but instead nearly 100 residents showed up, leaving standing room only and some unable to step fully inside the meeting room. For that reason, Dean said his city is planning to hold another similar meeting to get more input at a still to be determined date in September.
Dean said comments on annexation so far from county residents who live close to Harlem's border have been mixed. However, Dean said annexation would benefit most people, adding that although it probably would cost a resident more to pay the city tax than to pay the county's fire tax, a new resident of Harlem would make that up because their water bill would be cut nearly in half as would their trash pickup rate.
"In the end, it's coming out where most folks are seeing a benefit," he said. "The biggest selling point has been the water and then the (garbage) pickup."
Annexation of more land for the city, Dean said, would grow Harlem's population and make it eligible for more county funding.
"The issue of annexation comes down to a voice," he said.
At a Wednesday quarterly meeting of county and city officials, Trudeau and Dean agreed to work together on how their boundaries are rapidly approaching one another.
In other action at the same meeting, Trudeau asked county commissioners to reconsider the percentage of local option sale tax that Grovetown is set to receive starting in 2008. The city currently receives 9 percent of those funds, but a previously negotiated amount would lower that to 8.25 percent in 2008.
"I would be hoping we can renegotiate that contract to leave it at 9," Trudeau said, adding that the city "suffered significantly" when the percentage was dropped to 9 percent.
Rules of annexation
Hold public meetings to see who is in favor of annexation
Receive 100 percent approval of residents
Or receive 60 percent approval of landowners who represent 60 percent of the area's land.
Inform the county of the annexation
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