CITY, FIRE DISTRICT REACH ANNEXATION AGREEMENT
FROM: THE GREENVILLE (SC) JOURNAL [link]
By Cindy Landrum
An agreement between Greenville and the Wade Hampton Fire and Sewer District will allow the city to annex key properties along I-85 and Woodruff Road and the district to continue to provide fire protection and keep tax revenue.
Mayor Knox White said the agreement could be the most important intergovernmental agreement ever reached by the city.
“I think this will be a positive thing for both the city of Greenville and the district,” said Wade Hampton Fire Chief Randy Edwards. “It is a positive thing for both sides.”
As the city added important parcels of land in the Interstate 85 and Woodruff Road area to the city limits, Wade Hampton officials bristled over the deterioration of its tax base and worried about how the loss of important commercial property would impact the district’s ability to provide services.
“It was the simple loss of revenue,” Edwards said.
City officials approached the district about nine months ago with a proposal to allow the fire district to continue to provide fire protection to annexed property and to receive tax revenue for that.
The annexed properties are closer to a Wade Hampton fire station than city stations.
“From a public safety standpoint, it makes sense,” White said.
The agreement allows gives the fire district the option of allowing the city to provide fire services.
“One of the first things we agreed to is we weren’t going to do anything to compromise the safety of the public we both are sworn to protect,” said Greenville Fire Chief Tommy McDowell.
The agreement includes the four properties in the district annexed by the city since Jan. 1, 2009.
“We’re after two different things,” White said.
The district wants to preserve its tax base, while the city is “more about building our population,” White said.
White said the agreement could lead the way to similar agreements with other special purpose tax districts.