NORFOLK, Neb. (KCAU) – Norfolk would expand by 7.1 square miles if the proposed annexation plan gets approved by city council. But, locals living in these areas are worried about how these changes will affect them.
“I enjoy living outside city limits. We have a lower tax rate. I am worried about the taxes going up, sidewalks coming in. I live on an unpaved road, worried about maybe, if they would pave it and the expense that would have to come with,” said Adam Bauer, a resident in proposed annexed land.
“It’s just pretty scary to be on a limited income and have all of these extra expenses,” said Judi Buol, who also is a resident in proposed annexed land.
In order to address concerns, city officials hosted an open house at Norfolk Public Library on Wednesday, August 25 to answer questions. Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning said the expansion is a long time coming.
“We’ve grown beyond our existing city limits, to the point that they no longer makes sense. And so that puts some limitations on future growth for a city and really strains existing infrastructure. With that, there becomes a fairness issue as to paying for public services and maximizing the utility of the public services that people use,” said Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning.
City officials said the Norfolk expansion would mean a $225 increase in taxes per year for every $100,000 of assessed property value. Residents in these annexed areas say they chose to live in rural areas for a reason.
“I used to live in town, and I really enjoy where I’m at now. I’ve been out there for about 17 years. A lot of the, my neighbors are older people and they’re retired. So they’re on fixed incomes and it’s a big concern for them,” said Bauer.
“That’s why we bought the place, because it was outside of city limits,” said Buol.
“Maybe it’s great for us, maybe not. I don’t know. But I’ve been going to most of the meetings. Trying to figure out what I, you know, what’s going on? What’s going to happen? How it’s going to affect me and my family and my neighborhood?” said Bauer.
Norfolk City Council still needs to hold and approve three readings of the annexation plan before it can be put into effect. Council will consider the plan at its next meeting on September 7 at Norfolk City Administration.