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The City of Siloam Springs is currently reviewing a proposal to annex 2,860 acres, which includes Heritage Ranch and Lawlis Ranch, into its city limits. For a visual representation of the annexation, check out the map at this link: https://bit.ly/3Q3YAoL. To address any questions you may have about the annexation, we have compiled a FAQ based on the questions we've received so far. You can still submit your questions by following this link: https://bit.ly/3rx1M1X.
Please note: There will be a public meeting on August 1, 2023, starting at 6:30 PM, at the Siloam Springs City Hall (located at 400 N. Broadway St., Siloam Springs, AR). Another public meeting will be held on August 15, 2023, at the same time and location. We greatly value your insights and active involvement in this significant decision for Siloam Springs.
Continue scrolling to read the questions and answers.
What is the reason behind the City of Siloam Springs' desire to annex this property?
As the City is experiencing growth, it becomes crucial to incorporate land that can be appropriately zoned to accommodate new developments in accordance with the City's land use map. Utilizing undeveloped land is significantly more cost-effective for the City and its taxpayers, as it avoids the need to purchase properties from Carroll Electric. Given the circumstances, it is an opportune moment to contemplate expanding the City's boundaries to create ample room for future growth.
What factors or reasons prompted the city to consider this annexation?
In 2022, the City Board of Directors established annexation as one of its primary goals. The current annexation efforts are a direct response to that goal set by the Board.
What are the advantages to annexation?
Access to City Services: Annexed areas typically gain access to a wider range of municipal services, such as water supply, sewage systems, trash collection, and road maintenance. This can lead to improved infrastructure and better living conditions for residents.
Enhanced Public Safety: City police and fire departments usually provide more extensive coverage and quicker response times compared to rural or unincorporated areas. Annexation can lead to increased public safety and emergency services for residents.
Increased Property Values: Properties within the newly annexed area may see an increase in value due to improved services and amenities offered by the city. City services and infrastructure can make the area more desirable for potential buyers or investors.
Economic Development: Being part of a city can attract more businesses and commercial development to the area. Cities often have more resources and incentives to promote economic growth, which can result in job opportunities and increased tax revenue.
Improved Education: Annexed areas may benefit from access to better-funded schools and educational resources provided by the city, leading to an enhanced educational experience for residents.
Quality of Life Improvements: City governments often invest in parks, recreational facilities, and cultural programs to enhance residents' quality of life. Annexation can bring these amenities to the newly added area.
Voice in Local Government: Residents of the annexed area gain the ability to participate in city governance, including voting in municipal elections and having representation in city councils or boards.
Planning and Zoning Regulations: Being part of a city typically means being subject to more comprehensive planning and zoning regulations. This can lead to better-managed development and preservation of green spaces.
Access to Utilities and Technology: Annexed areas may benefit from advanced utility services and access to improved technology infrastructure.
Is there an expectation or plan to build a school closer to or within the annexed area?
As part of the proposed annexation, the school district owns land located to the south of town. While this land is included in the annexation plan, there is potential for a new school to be built in that area in the future. However, it's important to note that there are no confirmed plans for constructing a school at this time. For more information, we suggest reaching out to the school district directly.
What are the intended uses for the land, and is there any interest in leasing or purchasing the property?
The land will undergo zoning based on the Siloam Springs 2040 Comprehensive Plan future land use map. You can refer to the map via this link: https://shorturl.at/tEXZ3. The future land use map is a guide for future development, it is not the final zoning. That is only established with a rezoning ordinance. Some properties may be suited for a different zoning than what is shown on the map based on current site conditions and land uses. The majority of the area is designated for residential use, with some commercial zones along major corridors such as HWY 59. It's important to note that the City's intention is to annex the property and not to purchase or lease it.
What advantages will the city gain from this annexation?
With the City's current growth trajectory, it is essential to plan for its future expansion. We aim to allocate land now to ensure there is ample room for future growth while maintaining control over development, land uses, and other community planning aspects. Delaying annexation until after the area is developed would result in significantly higher costs for taxpayers, making it much more expensive in the long run. Therefore, taking proactive measures now is vital to manage growth efficiently and economically.
What are the initial and yearly expenses related to providing emergency services and city utilities to the annexed area?
The combined cost of acquiring utility customers and offering solid waste pick-ups amounts to approximately $5,018,210.00. However, it's important to note that the City is already providing EMS (Emergency Medical Services) in this area, so there will be no additional expenses related to this particular service. There will be other ongoing operational costs each year, but as development occurs, new revenues will be coming in, so the final figure should wash out and eventually pay for itself over time.
Will the utilities transition from rural utilities to city utilities as a result of the annexation?
Residents currently receiving services from Carroll Electric will experience a transition to City Electric within the next three years. Over time, as development progresses, City Water and sewer will be extended to this area.
How does the city plan to handle the expenses associated with the additional roads and infrastructure required for the annexed area?
Every year, additional expenses will be thoroughly examined when creating the City's annual budget. The anticipated rise in tax and utility revenues, along with the introduction of new developments, should assist in balancing and offsetting these increased expenses.
What will be the financial cost for the residents in the affected area due to this annexation?
The property tax bill will increase by 5.5 mills, typically resulting in a few hundred dollars per year for an average single-family home and even less for a farm. Although there might be some extra costs for trash pickup, this expense would be offset by no longer needing the services of a private hauler.
How will existing residents benefit from the annexation, and what potential negative impacts might they experience?
Expanding the City's boundaries will contribute to its overall strength, providing ample space for future growth. Implementing improved land use control will prove beneficial for future residents, as it will ensure orderly and planned growth. Currently, the County lacks land use zoning, making this annexation significant in terms of bringing structure to development. However, it's essential to note that there may be some negative impacts for those being annexed. These include the potential for a higher property tax rate (5.5 mills) and possibly higher utility rates compared to Carroll Electric.
Will residents have the option to choose not to be part of the annexation if approved?
No, the only option would be to de-annex from the City, which requires specific criteria for approval, such as not being surrounded on all sides by City annexed areas.
What will be the impact on livestock and farmers' fields due to the annexation?
Livestock is permitted within the City, and there should be little to no impact on current farms. Ranches are allowed, and as long as they have a minimum of one acre of land, there should be no concerns or problems regarding this matter.
What benefits will residents in the proposed annexed area receive?
Through annexation, residents gain access to a range of City services, including trash pick-up, local road maintenance, representation on the City Board of Directors, animal control, code enforcement, and local police and fire services. If connected to City utilities, they can avoid out-of-City surcharges. Additionally, annexed residents receive benefits such as free access to the library, membership to the Family Aquatic Center, and local approval for building permits should they choose to construct anything on their property.
Will the city assume full responsibility for Airport Road and address existing issues with it?
Indeed, the City will have the responsibility to take over the maintenance of Airport Road.
Will residents in the proposed annexed area receive trash services?
Absolutely, if the area undergoes annexation, residents will receive trash services.
Does the annexation include Shady Grove Road?
The annexation does not encompass Shady Grove Road.
How will this annexation impact the residents in the affected area?
Upon annexation, the residents will become City residents and will be subject to local laws and regulations. However, they will also enjoy the benefits that come with being a City resident.
Why is the decision-making authority for this matter vested in the city rather than only allowing the affected residents to vote on it?
This requirement is mandated by the State of Arkansas Law for any community-wide annexation conducted through an election. Both landowners in the proposed annexation area and Siloam Springs residents will have the opportunity to vote in the election if approved.
Is the City of Siloam Springs' current infrastructure capable of supporting the newly proposed area?
Indeed, water and sewer lines will not be immediately added; however, they will be gradually extended over time as development takes place.
Will the city need to hire more employees to manage the annexed area?
Maybe in time, but not initially.
If your property is not entirely surrounded by the newly proposed city limits, can you still be compelled to undergo annexation?
At this stage, the annexation area is finalized. Anyone residing within that designated area will be included in the annexation if approved.
Currently, who is the owner of the land, and is Siloam Springs acquiring it through eminent domain? If this is the case, could this establish a precedent for other landowners who might face potential land seizure beyond the city limits?
The land in question is owned by over 300 individuals, and the City does not need to acquire this land for the annexation process. The ownership of the land will remain unchanged after annexation, meaning there is no requirement for eminent domain. Therefore, no new precedents are being set in this matter.
Will annexing that area lead to an increase in options for internet services?
As of now, the City does not provide internet services. To get information about internet pricing, residents will need to reach out to a local internet service provider.
How will the annexation affect the future federal plans to turn 412 into an interstate? Will the interstate have to bypass the city to the north?
The presence or absence of City limits will not influence the construction of a future interstate. As of now, there is no official decision regarding whether the future interstate would bypass Siloam Springs to the north or south. A study is currently underway to determine the recommendation, but no definitive decision has been made yet.