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Thread: Omaha, NE annexation of Elkhorn, NE affirmed by state supreme court

  1. #1
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Omaha, NE annexation of Elkhorn, NE affirmed by state supreme court

    Looks like the City of Omaha did beat one of its suburbs to the punch. The City of Elkhorn, NE will become part of the City of Omaha, NE within the next few weeks.

    http://www.wowt.com/home/headlines/5172162.html

    A map of the territory involved is at:
    http://ads.omaha.com/media/maps/maps/222sqelksmap.jpg

    Fascinating.

    Mike

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Wow, that is interesting. Sometimes we complain about cities not having big enough b@lls to annex. Omaha sure topped that!
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  3. #3
    Good for Omaha! It is nice to see Cities grow. Thats the way it should be. I wish Michigan Cities could annex. As a city logically grows it should be able to easy annex. Here the problem is Townships!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planificador Urbano View post
    Good for Omaha! It is nice to see Cities grow. Thats the way it should be. I wish Michigan Cities could annex. As a city logically grows it should be able to easy annex. Here the problem is Townships!
    Cities can annex in Michigan. Farmington and Farmington Hills discuss the possibility every 10 years or so, and have had discussions about this possibility in the last couple months. It never seems to go anywhere.

    I agree 100% about townships though. Why does a county with 16 or 20 townships need 16 or 20 different master plans and zoning ordinances, with the complete authority to blatently ignore its county planning department?

    Quick edit: I misunderstood a little bit. Annexation has a different connotation than consolidation, which of course is what Farmington and Farmington Hills have discussed. My mistake, very tired tonight.
    Last edited by Coragus; 13 Jan 2007 at 8:38 PM. Reason: misunderstanding of topic
    Back home just in time for hockey season!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
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    I read a book by the former mayor of Albequerque (I think) about the success of cities that grow geographically (i.e. annexation.) He cited a lot of statistics showing that this is what allowed the 'great cities' of the north to become what they are, and the reduction in their ability to add tax base through expansion has been their demise.
    What luck! A random assemblage of words never sounded less intelligent.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by njm View post
    I read a book by the former mayor of Albequerque (I think) about the success of cities that grow geographically (i.e. annexation.) He cited a lot of statistics showing that this is what allowed the 'great cities' of the north to become what they are, and the reduction in their ability to add tax base through expansion has been their demise.
    I think that's a very simplistic -- and incorrect -- thesis. The reasons why northern and midwestern cities have fallen on hard times are numerous and reflect changes in economics and society. New York City last annexed land (Brooklyn, I believe) in the 1890s I think. Buffalo last annexed land in 1854. NYC is prosperous while Buffalo is in dire straits, but its problems have much more to do with the decline of manufacturing, especially heavy industry, and the city's failure to find a new economic engine than with the lack of land upon which to grow its tax base. Buffalo has a large, mostly empty waterfront, as well as other areas awaiting redevelopment if only there was more demand for it.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I wanna annex the Grosse Pointes!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  8. #8
    The idea that annexation of neighboring, existing cities is positive because it increases the tax base is ridiculous. Existing cities have their own expenses that they were spending their own taxes on. If you annex them, you get both the income and the expenses.

    What is really happening is that the central city is inefficient and has a high tax rate, while the suburban city has a much lower tax rate, thus the suburban city is competing for investments against the central city. The central city is thus trying to force the neighboring city's taxes up and if possible keep the money for itself.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    The idea that annexation of neighboring, existing cities is positive because it increases the tax base is ridiculous. Existing cities have their own expenses that they were spending their own taxes on. If you annex them, you get both the income and the expenses.

    What is really happening is that the central city is inefficient and has a high tax rate, while the suburban city has a much lower tax rate, thus the suburban city is competing for investments against the central city. The central city is thus trying to force the neighboring city's taxes up and if possible keep the money for itself.
    I pretty much agree. In Buffalo, however, city taxes are considerably less than in the surrounding suburbs, primarily because the city of Buffalo fails to adequately fund its public schools and is almost entirely dependent on state aid to run its schools. The poor schools, along with the city's notorious lack of interest in maintaining its neighborhoods, have driven much of the middle and working classes out of the city. Investment has followed the population out to the 'burbs. Buffalo can't complete with its suburbs because it has a political ethic based on providing cushy jobs with plenty of perks for the politically connected while protecting the interests of the city's supposed "civic leadership".

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    What is really happening is that the central city is inefficient and has a high tax rate, while the suburban city has a much lower tax rate, thus the suburban city is competing for investments against the central city. The central city is thus trying to force the neighboring city's taxes up and if possible keep the money for itself.

    I would not neccessarily say ineffiecient. It is more mature. Because of this, it has more retirees. The central city also has more of a stake in paying for regional things seen as public goods such as public transit, stadiums, convention centers or museums. It has more bills simply due to its non-parasite geography.

    The case could be made that moving to the suburbs shifts a person's true tax burden onto others, who are often times much less capable of affording to pay the bills.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    I would not neccessarily say ineffiecient. It is more mature. Because of this, it has more retirees. The central city also has more of a stake in paying for regional things seen as public goods such as public transit, stadiums, convention centers or museums. It has more bills simply due to its non-parasite geography.

    The case could be made that moving to the suburbs shifts a person's true tax burden onto others, who are often times much less capable of affording to pay the bills.
    What if they don't want and never wanted any of that crap? Why should they be made to pay for it?

    They are parasites because the city bought a stadium and they live in the suburbs? Maybe the city should be looking for a better way to earn a profit from the stadium than taxing people.

  12. #12
    Not every inner city has a higher tax rate than its suburbs. Boston's property tax rate is lower. Sales taxes are set statewide. There is no city income tax.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Not every inner city has a higher tax rate than its suburbs. Boston's property tax rate is lower. Sales taxes are set statewide. There is no city income tax.
    Generally, at least in NYS, city taxes tend to be higher than the surrounding suburbs because cities have paid professional fire departments while most suburban towns depend on volunteers. Many suburban towns, especially first ring suburbs, tend to have many of the same amenities that the cities provide, from libraries to snow plowing to garbage pick to water and sewage to police protection, so the taxes and user fees to support those are fairly similar. You have to get out into the exurbs where people have private wells and septic, sheriffs' road patrols rather than town police departments, etc before there's a big disparity between taxes.

    Income and sales taxes are set at the state level in New York, and counties may add to the sales tax. Outside of the NYC area, I don't there are any local income taxes.

  14. #14
    I think Boston's property tax rate is lower than most towns within 25 or so miles at the least. Mostly because our schools are much worse. A lot of the inner suburbs are very wealthy (Brookline, Newton) and pride themselves on their commitment to their schools.

    It makes a difference for the residential market. Once people's kids graduate from high school, they can move into the city and pay 25 - 30% less in taxes. So most of the inner neighborhoods are experiencing big increases in development and condo prices. The total city population falls (or barely increases) because families are replaced by households without children, but we don't have any abandonment. On the contrary, the area of desirability keeps expanding.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    What if they don't want and never wanted any of that crap? Why should they be made to pay for it?

    They are parasites because the city bought a stadium and they live in the suburbs? Maybe the city should be looking for a better way to earn a profit from the stadium than taxing people.
    Jaws you're picking and choosing, not addressing the whole concept. All I can say is that in life you get what you pay for. Legacy costs are a real problem that older central cities are dealing with, you did not address those. Most of those cities are shinking due to smaller family sizes and inability to expand like Omaha. Combine that with history, and technology - it used to take four guys on a truck to pick up garbage. Now one can do it in half the time. Central cities have these costs many suburban areas don't. Central cities have full time fire departments too. I'd rather have a fire department I could call to help me than to have to rely on vols.
    Last edited by DetroitPlanner; 15 Jan 2007 at 7:53 PM.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  16. #16
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Jaws you're picking and choosing, not addressing the whole concept. All I can say is that in life you get what you pay for. Legacy costs are a real problem that older central cities are dealing with, you did not address those. Most of those cities are shinking due to smaller family sizes and inability to expand like Omaha. Combine that with history, and technology - it used to take four guys on a truck to pick up garbage. Now one can do it in half the time. Central cities have these costs many suburban areas don't. Central cities have full time fire departments too. I'd rather have a fire department I could call to help me than to have to rely on vols.
    You're playing a nasty sleight-of-hand trick here. It's not a matter of getting what you pay for but being made to pay for things you never wanted. Whatever the central city's legacy costs are, suburban cities are in no way responsible for them. It was not their mistake to run up these costs.

    If the central city is bankrupt, let it fail.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
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    So the suburbs can collapse with it? Regardless of how much chutzpah a suburb may have, it's still a suburb. Cities and suburbs are interdependent... each offers different opportunities that are complementary, not substitutes.

    You keep arguing that people don't want these costs, yet what you're really saying is that you don't see a justification for these costs. However, I find it hard to believe that one person can embody every possible opinion.
    What luck! A random assemblage of words never sounded less intelligent.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by njm View post
    So the suburbs can collapse with it? Regardless of how much chutzpah a suburb may have, it's still a suburb. Cities and suburbs are interdependent... each offers different opportunities that are complementary, not substitutes.
    Even if a company with a factory goes bankrupt, the factory is still there afterwards.

    A suburb being just a suburb is no argument. Suburban rings in many places have more population and a bigger economy than the central city. They could do just as well without it, certainly much better than if the central city's corruption was exported to them.

    What you are proposing with these annexations is forcing the neighbor to pay your mortgage because you were not responsible enough to manage your expenses. There's no justice in that.

    I say just let the bank foreclose.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    Looks like the City of Omaha did beat one of its suburbs to the punch. The City of Elkhorn, NE will become part of the City of Omaha, NE within the next few weeks.

    http://www.wowt.com/home/headlines/5172162.html

    A map of the territory involved is at:
    http://ads.omaha.com/media/maps/maps/222sqelksmap.jpg

    Fascinating.

    Mike

    Nebraska's annexation laws are somewhat 'lax' compared to other states. A couple of the stipulations is that an incorporated municipality that is targeted to be annexed can't have more than 10,000 residents and the bigger municipality cannot annex across county lines. Elkhorn is on the east side of the Platte River which is a dividing line between Douglas and and I think Saunders counties. Omaha will now have two riverfronts and has really changed in the ten years since I left.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by njm View post
    Many of the economic factors stem from a lack of tax base. I'd venture to guess that the 8.75% sales tax in Buffalo (highest in New York State) probably plays a pretty significant role in the underdevelopment of the waterfront as well as the vacancies in the city center.
    Off-topic:
    Utica which is in Oneida County has the highest sales tax at 9.5% and I believe that it is because of the counties in which some of these cities lie that the sales tax is high.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  21. #21
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator View post
    Off-topic:
    Utica which is in Oneida County has the highest sales tax at 9.5% and I believe that it is because of the counties in which some of these cities lie that the sales tax is high.
    Utica is also a fast-declining city AND metro area. Utica is built out and a large percentage of its metro area's taxable economic activity is outside of the city limits, while the city's old-line service needs (street maintanence, police/fire, etc) continue unabated. That imbalance continues until it becomes a 'death spiral', creating a rotted-out core that affects the entire metro area and its wider overall public image.

    New York State, Pennsylvania and, to a slightly lesser extent, Michigan, are 'poster children' of this.

    Mike

  22. #22
    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    Utica is also a fast-declining city AND metro area. Utica is built out and a large percentage of its metro area's taxable economic activity is outside of the city limits, while the city's old-line service needs (street maintanence, police/fire, etc) continue unabated. That imbalance continues until it becomes a 'death spiral', creating a rotted-out core that affects the entire metro area and its wider overall public image.

    New York State, Pennsylvania and, to a slightly lesser extent, Michigan, are 'poster children' of this.

    Mike
    Obviously Utica needs serious reform, but throwing more money into the death spiral by taxing the remaining healthy areas is not going to achieve this. You're only spreading the death spiral around.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    What I'm hearing from all this is annexing will just add more legacy costs and provide a short-term financial shot in the arm to cover those bills. Eventually, it'll catch up again until annexation is no longer possible. Then the legacy costs will pile up even faster with no financial stop-gap available. Taxes either have to go up or services have to be cut.

    The public will riot if you cut services and grumble if you raise taxes. It's a catch-22.

    Cities need to plan for legacy costs with much more detail. We've got 100 year old sewers in the old part of town that are beyond their life. We have wooden systems still in use (according to the san district). These costs were not properly amoratized and now a tax hike is the savior.

    I am worried that the "annex at all costs" mentallity will only end up costing the citizens more in the long-run unless income is balanced better with expected and known costs.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  24. #24
    Hmm, I have a question, is Omaha going the way of urban sprawl or urban infill?

  25. #25
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    Hmm, I have a question, is Omaha going the way of urban sprawl or urban infill?
    Urban Sprawl. When I was a kid, Lincoln seemed so far away. Now there a few legislative changes and 30 miles from physically touching.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

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