Liberty city officials met Tuesday evening with area residents to discuss the possible annexation of Lakewood Heights, Green Forest and Ruhamah Road.
“At Tuesday’s annexation meeting there was close to 70 people in attendance, and of those 70, there were some interested in annexation,” said Liberty City Councilmember, Lavant Padgett.
Liberty officials used the open meeting to explain the benefits of annexation into the city.
According to the city, one of the key benefits would be in the shortened emergency response times of the City Police, but a portion of the attending public took that as an insult to the Pickens County Sherriff’s office.
“Not slighting the Pickens County Sheriff’s office at all, but their responding officer may be 20 miles from you in an emergency and a city officer may be just two miles away,” said Padgett.
Liberty officials also state that residents selected for inclusion into the city could save money on taxes.
Using county numbers, a report by city councilmember, Lavant Padgett, revealed that county residents in the area considered for annexation can spend $400 more each year in taxes than city residents.
“If you live in the county and you use 5,000 gallons of water each month, it will cost you $9.26 more per month than if you lived in the city, and sewer at 5,000 gallons each month would cost you $6.82 more per month,” said Padgett.
The city of Liberty will not include any resident or neighborhood that does not want annexation, and according to South Carolina Law, there are three primary methods of annexation, 100 percent ordinance, 75 percent petition/ordinance, and 25 percent petition/election.
Of the three methods, the 100 percent ordinance relates most to the city of Liberty due to its 100 percent annexation requirement.
“Every person has to agree if we are going to annex them. We will not annex any resident that does not want to be annexed,” said Padgett.
Because the City of Liberty will not incorporate any resident that decides to not be annexed, small pockets called “donut holes” will result.
“A donut hole is a pocket of county property that is completely surrounded by a municipality, “said the Senior Field Services Manager of the Municipal Association of South Carolina. “ And city council cannot initiate annexation, someone from an adjacent area to the city must petition the council for annexation.”