Mayor Sandy Stimpson has introduced a plan to grow the city by some 13,000 residents before counting for the 2020 U.S. Census begins in a few months.
A plan to annex three areas of West Mobile into the city limits will appear for the first time on the Mobile City Council’s agenda for its meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Councilors will have to vote to allow a referendum and if a majority of the residents in those areas approve the referendum, the areas will become a part of the city.
It will take a supermajority of five votes of the council for the referendum to take place. Stimpson said that if councilors approve the measure in November, the referendum could take place before Christmas and would allow the new residents to be counted in the new census.
Administration officials, on Thursday, Oct. 24, said the effort was part of a grassroots push from residents in areas near Mobile Regional Airport and Snow Road, the Cottage Hill and Schillinger commercial corridor and King’s Branch. Stimpson described it as a “win-win for the city,” which would result in more than $2 million in additional revenue per year.
The plan would also boost the city’s population above 200,000 — opening it up to an additional $5 million to $10 million in federal public safety grants as well as grants for “youth, housing and transportation,” according to a statement from Stimpson’s office.
Stimpson said care was also taken to minimize the impact the proposed annexation would have on minority voting power within the city. According to information provided by the administration, a gain of roughly 13,000 residents from these three neighborhoods would give black residents a 49-percent share of the population, while white residents would have a 47-percent share. The current demographic breakdown is about 50 percent black and 45 percent white.
The mayor’s office also believes the annexation would be “a win economically” because it would result in an immediate $1.4 million increase in revenue for the city, which would expand to $2.2 million once the city began collecting ad valorem taxes from residents five years after the vote.
That number is based on the net total of revenue once the roughly $1 million in expenses per year are deducted for garbage service, trash pickup and city EMS service. The city has previously rolled back EMS in these areas in an attempt to save money and help make the service more efficient for residents — leaving Mobile County EMS to fill the gap.
However, officials have maintained fire and police service in these areas.
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