Brookland Annexation on Ballot for Voters in November

BROOKLAND, AR (KAIT) -- The city of Brookland could be bigger come November.  A measure will be on the ballot in November that will give voters the opportunity to approve or deny the annexation.

"Partly it's good.  Brookland needs to grow.  I think they're taking a larger chunk than they really need to," said Craighead County resident Duane Harvey.

The current amount of land in Brookland is about 2,000 acres and if the annexation is passed by voters, it would increase to just under 8,000 acres.  Mayor Kenneth Jones said there are many reasons he feels this is necessary.

"We want to make Brookland better for the future.  We want to promote prosperity and protection for the citizens and their properties," said Jones.

City leaders have looked into getting other retail businesses or restaurant chains to come in, but they haven't been successful.  He said this is because they don't have a large enough population.

"We need to get past that plateau of 2,000 people and annexation will help us do that," said Jones.

Their population sign's show just over 1,300 but Mayor Jones said their pre-census count for 2010 puts them at about 1,700 people right now.

"With this annexation it would put it somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,200 to 2,300 people," said Jones.

Mayor Jones said more than half of the land in question for annexation is farm land with some residential areas and businesses mixed in.  Craighead County Justice of the Peace and landowner Duane Harvey said that's one thing some will have a problem with.

"There are pro's and con's to all this too, but if you want to add a new addition or build a new house you've got to go get permits.  A lot of people like to just be independent, that's why they moved to the county to start with," said Jones.

One of the new boundaries would be just past Harvey's Motorsports, and Mr. Harvey saikd he worries about what being part of the city would mean.

"The biggest problem I see here is I'm away from their facilities and the next thing they'll want to do is add a sales tax," said Harvey.

Mayor Jones tells Region 8 News there are no plans for a city wide sales tax right now.  Brookland does have an annual property tax of two mills that would be passed on to any new property owners annexed in.

Mayor Jones said that if the voters pass the annexation on November 4th, multiple services would be provided to them within the next three years.  Those services include police protection, mosquito protection, animal control, sanitation, a severe weather warning system, and the removal of a $55 annual fire tax fee.