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Town aims to assure the newly annexed
SoVaNow.com / December 23, 2013On Jan. 1, at midnight, Clarksville’s long annexation battle will finally come to an end with nearly 650 acres of land and approximately 92 people getting swept up in the town’s expanded boundaries.
Hoping to quell the anxieties of Clarksville’s newest businesses and homeowners, Town Manager Jeff Jones has drawn up a plan to make the transition “as seamless as possible.”
A few of the benefits accruing to the new residents and businesses are trash and leaf pickup, reduced water and sewer rates, and town police protection.
Foremost, Jones told members of Clarksville’s Town Council at its December meeting, is the need to communicate. To that end, he prepared letters notifying residents and businesses about the changes to come.
Residents, who already have town water and sewer services, will see a drop in their water and sewer rates now that they are part of town.
Current users of town water or sewer service will be charged in-town rates beginning Jan. 1. This month only, these customers will have their water meters read on Dec. 31, so the town can make the proper adjustments to their bills. Starting in mid-January, water meters will be read each month and users billed accordingly, at the in-town rate.
New residents who do not currently use town water or sewer will have the option, starting Jan. 1, to hook into the town systems within a year of annexation at no cost to them. They can also forego town water and sewer, opting instead to continue to use their own wells and septic systems.
Newly annexed residents who seek connection to the town’s water or sewer systems after Dec. 31, 2014 will have to pay all applicable connection charges.
Regardless of whether the resident enjoys Clarksville water or sewer service, their letter will explain their new real estate and personal property tax rates and assessments. The newly annexed real estate will be taxed for the half-year (January 2014 to June 2014) based on the July 2013 assessments at Clarksville’s rate of 27 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Personal property will also be taxed for the half-year based on the July 2013 assessment at Clarksville’s rate of $1.65 per $100 of Bluebook value.
Beginning March 31, all residents must purchase a town decal for their car or truck’s windshield at a cost of $25 per vehicle. These decals can be purchased at Town Hall or at the Virginia Avenue Mall.
Jones is still working with Richard Elliott, the town’s operations manager, to finalize a new schedule for residential trash pickup. They expect to have the plan ready by Jan. 2.
Jones added that it might take a while longer to conclude an implementation plan for picking up trash at businesses that use dumpsters. He asks for patience during this process.
The letter going out to businesses explains the process for acquiring a business license to operate in the town limits. For the first year, the town will charge newly annexed businesses only $30 for the license. Thereafter, the license fee is based on each business’ gross receipts for the calendar year, with $30.00 being the minimum fee.
Meals and lodging taxes, for those business owners required to collect and pay them, will be assessed beginning Jan. 1, based on established town rates. Jones promised to personally follow up with any business subject to these taxes.
The Town police are continuing to work on a plan to incorporate annexed areas into the town’s jurisdiction. However, patrolling, radio responses to calls and other routine police services using the town’s present personnel and equipment will be provided on the effective date of annexation.
Finally, Jones said other services such as general governmental administration and temporary zoning for the newly annexed areas will become effective immediately upon the effective date of annexation.
The temporary zoning ordinance says, “Any area annexed into the Town of Clarksville shall, immediately upon such annexation, be automatically classified as the district it abuts, until a zoning map for said area has been adopted by Town Council.”
As examples, property in the newly annexed area A west of town along Virginia Avenue and Buffalo Road will be temporarily classified R1. The property in newly annexed areas B1 and B2 southwest of town along Highway 15 will be temporarily classified B1. Area C south of town — which includes Mill Village, Stripers Cove and the old Burlington factory site — is temporarily classified R3.
Jones said the Planning Commission hopes to make a formal recommendation to the Town Council for permanent zoning of the newly annexed property at the January Council meeting.
Jones will handle all zoning and sign permit requests. He said forms are available at Town Hall.
In other business, J. Harman Saunders Construction was awarded the contract to complete the Phase IV Clarksville downtown revitalization project. This final phase extends the sidewalk and streetlight repairs and upgrades from its current stopping point at Seventh Street down to Eighth Street. J. Harman Saunders was the contractor for the initial work. Jones expects work to begin on Phase IV after the first of the year.
Justin Kerns, Mecklenburg County’s Tourism Coordinator, discussed Clarksville’s use of tourism as an economic development tool when he met with members of Town Council during their December meeting. By first helping them understand the definition and benefits of tourism, Kerns hopes to prepare town leaders to take a more active role in promoting local landmarks and those things that make the area unique.
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