For those that could not attend tonights meeting:
For Alamo Ranch, its painfully obvious that there is absolutely no advantage to residents for annexation for the following reasons:
1) City Zoning – Since AR is a planned development which has already been approved, zoning ordinances can not supersede them. In several cases, county rules are more stringent than city (ground cover for example).
2) Street Maintenance – For gated communities, neither the county (or the city) would have any responsibility as they are private property owned by the HOA that services the community. Street planning is actually a function of http://www.alamoareampo.org/ which again really doesn’t apply to Alamo Ranch since we are a planned community
3) Water/Sewer – Already installed and serviced by SAWS, which non-city residents pay more than city residents for these services. (http://www.saws.org/service/rates/Resident.cfm)
4) Garbage – Is currently managed by multiple private companies that compete for your business. HOA rules prevent things like what happened elsewhere around San Antonio with garbage piling up.
5) Police – SAPD is currently short 192 officers and with the ongoing contract dispute it does not appear that the existing shortage will be solved in the immediate future. Annexing additional areas would only make the problem worse. As it stands BCSO is better suited to provide this service with a much better response time and with fewer deputies. Had COSA approved the BCSO substation on Weismann a year ago, it would be even better. (The land was donated to BCSO, but the project was scuttled because COSA would not agree to a 20 year exemption for Alamo Ranch annexation)
6) Fire – Same situation as Police.
Right now we pay for Police/ESD via our County Property Tax portion of your tax bill. If we were annexed to the city, we continue to pay that IN ADDITION TO paying the City property tax at $0.057 per $100 valuation.
In April 2015, residents of Alamo Ranch submitted a petition to COSA requesting to allow the Alamo Ranch area to incorporate. This is required because AR is in the ETJ of San Antonio which is a home rule city. To date, no response has been made toward that request. The goal of incorporating AR was to prevent being incorporated in COSA that would take our tax revenues and spend them elsewhere, and instead keep that tax revenue local to the area. Tax revenue does NOT necessarily mean property tax. Cities are able to charge right of way use fees and retain a portion of the sales tax revenue generated in their jurisdiction, which it was estimated that revenue alone would be sufficient to fund the city of Alamo Ranch. Since residents are already paying these taxes/fees, no impact would have been felt. Police/Fire would be subcontracted to BCSO/ESD, and a minimalistic form of government would be installed. None of the members of the committee to incorporate Alamo Ranch want to be in the garbage/water/electric business, we just wanted to ensure decisions and taxes about our area stayed local and not subjected to the tax and spend ways that COSA has demonstrated it does.
When Mayor Taylor announced she wanted the annexation to “slow down” and “only incorporate the commercial properties”, this was a huge red flag. The underlying purpose when COSA says they only want to incorporate the commercial properties is to strip the surrounding area of the ability to support itself and is strictly a ploy to prevent future cities from incorporating. Home rule cities are only allowed to annex a certain amount of square miles per year, and by using this technique it maximizes the cities ability to annex in the future.
Their biggest concern COSA has is being ringed in by cities like the Dallas/Houston areas have done preventing future growth. As noted in the meeting, this is a red herring as cities like Dallas continue to “grow” despite this as businesses continue moving to there. One example was the recent move of AT&T from San Antonio to Dallas. The reason cited was that Dallas has a large suburb population. As COSA continues to expand, this pushes the suburbs further out, exacerbating the problem of gutting downtown San Antonio.
Residents of Alamo Ranch made a conscious decision to move outside the city. And we are trying very hard to keep it that way.