Protecting property values and the city limits has been on the minds of the city commissioners, mayor and city manager as they have worked to guide annexation along the southern edge of the city and extend corporate limits to meet existing boundaries set by the City of Alma.
In the regularly called commission meeting held last week, the commissioners approved several ordinances for zoning requests from land owners with parcels of property along I-45. The city hopes to successfully complete the annexation as they have on the northern end of the city to help promote and guide growth in those areas.
“It is in everyone's best interest if the city has the opportunity to help guide perspective business ventures dealing with the property along the interstate. We are starting to see pressure for land development along I-45 and it is important to provide an ideal location for industry that would add to the city's economy while protecting the property value of the surrounding land owners,” City Manager Steve Howerton said.
The city hopes the annexations will allow them to be competitive with surrounding cities that have done the same in attracting development.
“We have looked at examples provided by neighboring cities and feel that while we need to be careful regarding what development is approved for the area along I-45, we also need to have the annexations to remain competitive in attracting developments,” Howerton said.
In other business, the commissioners voted to reject an ordinance they had already held public hearings on to refund Economic Development Corporation sales tax revenue bonds, series 2007.
“This was an unusual situation where although the commission had voted to refund the bonds, they only did so if the total net savings to the city was three percent or more. After establishing that the market was not going to warrant that kind of savings right now, the commission voted to reject the previous ordinance and wait to refund the bonds,” he said.
The process, which is likened to refinancing a home mortgage, will see the city pay off old debt with the refunding of the bonds to establish a repayment process at a lower rate of interest. Ken Smith of Southwest Securities is handling the transaction for the city and will continue to monitor the market so the city can get the best interest rate available.
The commission also voted to approve a change order for the Ensign Road street improvements that due to changing the size of sewer pipes will see savings of more than $1,000.
Ennis City Commission meets at 6 p.m. in workshop, with the regular meeting at 7 p.m. the first and third Monday of each month at city hall, 115 W. Brown St. Both the meeting and workshop are open to the public.