Brookland Annexation: Nothing more than a Sugar High.
On the ballot this November will be a measure to annex land mass into the Brookland, Ar municipality. Having spoken with many on both sides of this measure. We fall into opposition of annexation. There are a few reasons for this.
We feel there is a hidden agenda for those wanting to annex. Those who've shared their opinion pro annexation merely stated they wanted to expand. Those in opposition have many valid concerns for being against annexation. There exist, along Highway 49 right through Brookland; two billboards that list reasons for being pro annexation. These billboards are identical to one another and state "help keep school system #1" and "Expansion of police services".
We find it particularly interesting that the name of the school system isn't mentioned. Obviously that would be Brookland Public Schools. A wonderful school system that many of us call our Alma Mater. To annex could mean an immediate large influx of students that would put real pressure on current school infrastructure and staff. Thwarting growth isn't what is being said here. Planned growth is how Brookland Public Schools has gotten to the point it is now. With high academia numbers rivaling much of the state and facility availability that is just as pronounced. Annexation IS NOT needed to keep Brookland Public Schools the amazing institution of education it is and has been.
"Annexation is rarely more than an economic sugar high for a city, one with long-term consequences that are nearly always negative."
Expansion of police services? The proposed area to be annexed is currently patrolled regularly by Brookland Police Department and the Craighead County Sheriffs Department along with Arkansas State Police. We have a great team of officers that patrol and enforce law in this area. Annexation IS NOT needed to expand Police services.
This measure was entered under "Emergency" cause to action. That "Emergency" has not been made clear. Many have postulated that this measure is simply a reach for increased tax revenue. Plain and Simple.
A few things that history has shown when dealing with forced annexation (Where the municipality enacts annexation)
Taxation without Representation: "NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!" An Idea CENTRAL to the American experience. Those who would be absorbed into the city are then subject to its taxes and other municipal changes or regulations; even if they did not want to be annexed.
Fiscal Irresponsibility: Municipalities promise changes up front, then drag their feet to effect the change that was promised after annexation is approved.
WHAT IT BOILS DOWN TO:
SALES TAX INCREASE: CONTINUE TO PAY ALL THE TAX YOU ALREADY DO THEN ADD 3% (BROOKLAND ALREADY HAS TAX RATES HIGHER THAN SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES)
UTILITIES SURCHARGE: AN 8% FEE IS ADDED TO YOUR UTILITIES SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU WERE ANNEXED IN AS A PART OF BROOKLAND, EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE STILL RIGHT WHERE YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN.
It was announced a few years ago that the cities infrastructure could not keep up with such expansive growth. Thus many development projects were halted. But this is the way it is supposed to be. Slow and steady, PLANNED growth is how a city rises to be a permanent part of a states history. Brookland is a wonderful place to live. It is filled with wonderful people and nobody knows COMMUNITY better than those of this area. We want growth. We want new and exciting development to come to Brookland, just not by way forced annexation.
Ultimately, we urge you to do your civic duty and vote.
VOTE NO AGAINST THE ANNEXATION PROPOSAL
We have great people who can grow this wonderful town the right way. The way it should be grown. Making a forceful money grab from the citizens of this area and disguising it as an "emergency" is something else.
We love this community and these are our views on this particular issue. We generally do not enter the realm of political discussion, but then again. We are a part of this community. We want to see Brookland continue to be an amazing place. Its future looks bright, without annexation. Its future is on the right track to great growth, established at the right rate.