Revenue estimated for proposed Tryon annexation drops 22 percent

Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Town of Tryon wouldn&squo;t get as much net revenue from its proposed annexation as it initially figured.

Tryon is now expecting almost $40,000 less annually from its plan to involuntarily annex about 400 new residents.

After revisions to estimates for water/sewer revenues and state reimbursements, the annexation is now estimated to net $129,640 annually instead of the previously estimated $166,663.

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The revised figure was presented at a public hearing on the proposed annexation last Wednesday.

About 100 people attended the hearing, some holding signs against forced annexation. About 16 residents spoke to council, some questioning the town&squo;s figures and one calling for a second opinion on the estimates. None of the speakers voiced support for the annexation plan.

The hearing drew fewer people and speakers than a hearing last year for an annexation plan that was later rescinded. But the town is still facing substantial opposition to its expansion plans.

Representatives of Citizens Against Forced Annexation (CAFA), which sued the town over the previous annexation plan, collected money at last week&squo;s hearing for a potential lawsuit if the new annexation is approved.

Town council could approve the annexation as early as April 29. The area includes Gillette Woods, Country Club Road, Harmon Field and parts of Hwy. 108.

John McHenry of Benchmark CMR Services reviewed the town&squo;s annexation report, detailing what the town plans to gain in revenue and spend on expanded services.

He said&bsp; water and sewer revenue estimates were lowered because customers in the annexation area will switch to paying lower, inside city rates after the annexation. The expected water revenue was lowered $29,551&bsp; and the sewer revenue went down $1,106, decreasing the town&squo;s net gain by $30,657.

Tryon councilman Austin Chapman and some residents had questioned the water/sewer revenue estimates previously. McHenry said they were adjusted after the town recently advised him of its policy for lower rates to customers inside the town.

Other changes to the plan included different state estimates on Powell Bill funding, down $7,530 and utility franchise tax reimbursement, which increased by $1,164.

Look for more coverage on the public hearing in this week&squo;s Bulletins.