The City of Springfield has grown. City council members Tuesday approved bringing into the city 51 acres of unincorporated land that is surrounded by city limits on all sides.
Business owners in the annexed lots say they worry higher property taxes and utilities will hurt their bottom line. They will now have to collect city sales tax.
Mike Simpson helps run the family produce and garden store, Suttill’s Gardens, which was in Woodside township.
“I feel like our property taxes and the way we do business is going to be affected by the city. Maybe not this council but a future council will probably squash the way we do business,” he said.
Simpson was joined by several other business owners at Tuesday night’s council meeting. All asked that members reconsider the proposal. Four years ago, Simpson testified against annexation when several of the same parcels were considered by the city. The proposal did not get enough votes then.
But now all 10 city council members said annexation is necessary-- especially to ensure the safety of residents in those areas.
Ward 3 Ald. Doris Turner, who will now represent the acquired land, said annexation will help police and firefighters do their jobs.
“The city police end up responding to situations that are not within the city of Springfield. You know, people don’t know that the house next door to me is not within the city of Springfield," she said. "So, that’s another reason why annexation is important: it gives some clarity to our first responders.”
Mayor Jim Langfelder said annexation could help beautify those areas, which the city has struggled to do. “We’ve talked about trees. We want to plant them, and they say, well you can’t because some are in the city and some are outside the city. So that’s what we take a look at.”
Langfelder and other proponents say unincorporated land already benefits from some city services.
The 51 acres is made up of 55 pieces of land.