Byrnes Mill, aka JeffCo’s Ferguson, has long lusted after the businesses that lie just north of it in unincorporated High Ridge. They want to annex these businesses for their tax revenue, the same reason the city wants to write so many traffic tickets. Byrnes Mill is the only JeffCo city that will be affected by the passage of the SB5 state law last year, which limits the amount of traffic ticket revenue the city can bring in to 20% of its total revenue. All other JeffCo cities have been safely below this cap.
Here are articles going back to 1999 that exhibit Byrnes Mill’s greedy eye:
- BYRNES MILL ALDERMEN DISCUSS HOW TO ANNEX DOWNTOWN HOUSE SPRINGS: QUESTION COULD GO BEFORE VOTERS IN THE SPRING. – 1999
Byrnes Mill looks to annex business area – 2009
In 2010, the freakin’ state legislature passed a law specifically to thwart Byrnes Mill’s attempts to annex land that contains no registered voters:
Annexation of territory prohibited, when (City of Byrnes Mill).
79.025. No city of the fourth classification with more than two thousand three hundred but fewer than two thousand four hundred inhabitants and located in any county with a charter form of government and with more than one hundred ninety-eight thousand but fewer than one hundred ninety-nine thousand two hundred inhabitants shall annex any territory adjacent to the city if such adjacent territory proposed for annexation does not contain any registered voters unless the city has obtained the written consent of all the owners of real property within such adjacent territory.
Here’s some discussion of that. See all the gymnastics they have to do to single out a city? The population numbers and the charter government provisions make this a bill that applies to one city.
Word is that Byrnes Mill is back on the annexation warpath. Reports are they want to annex all the way up Highway 30 to Quik Trip. The big prize would be WalMart. Here is a map:
I’m told that Byrnes Mill’s planning consultant, Streiler Planning, is currently working on a comprehensive plan for the city and is investigating annexation possibilities.
Byrnes Mill’s main claim is apparently that it can provide police services with a faster response time than the county sheriff (though the sheriff has a zone office in High Ridge). Walmart reportedly is interested in annexation for this reason.
Annexation would mean a higher sales tax for customers of the included businesses. Byrnes Mill’s sales tax rate for 2016 is 8.35%, while High Ridge is at 7.35%.
It would also mean worse governance. Byrnes Mill has had plenty of problems, particularly with its police department. Go here to read my old posts on the subject. This city has not earned the right to expand. Hopefully the county government and the affected businesses will stand up and stop this latest land grab.