Liberty, TX 2016-17 Annexation Plan
LIBERTY, March 14, 2016 - Below is the City of Liberty 2016-17 Annexation Plan from the City of Liberty and Community Development Avisory Board to Liberty City Council.
- $120,000 has been allocated by the City Council of Liberty, Texas to initiate and complete the Liberty, Texas 2016-2017 annexation project, with coordination between the Community Development Advisory Board and City of Liberty management under direction of the City Manager.
- The Liberty annexation plan was authorized in September 2010 by the Liberty City Council with a detailed plan in 2013. The Advalorem Tax Rate for the City of Liberty for 2016: $0.59 per $100 valuation with advalorem tax collections for Liberty in 2015 approximating $34.2 million.
- Annexation Locations: South from Liberty, Texas following the Trinity River south and involving approximately 9 miles and then going east to include the Moss Bluff Gas Transmission Block area. There will be nine annexation phases of approximately 1 mile each in sequence and contiguous from City of Liberty through Moss Bluff Transmission Block.
- Properties Involved include approximately 100 real property owners, including the 21 entities in the Moss Bluff Transmission Block (MBTB) entities now storing more than 27 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
- CAD Property MBTB valuations are $158,506,600 in 2015 for the 21 entities in the Moss Bluff Transmission Block Entities with annual ad valorem taxes now being paid to:
Liberty Independent School District - $2,210,061;
Liberty County - $917,438 -The Moss Bluff Transmission Block Entities in 2015 will pay 27% of the total tax valuation of Liberty County of $579,147,941 for 2014 (most recent available at present);
Hospital District#1 - $142,656;
Navigation District - $28,214 or
Total present annual MBTB ad valorem taxes paid of $3,612,674.
- This already agreed CAD valuation by the 21 MBTB entities and the various taxing entities avoids disputes on valuation in an annexation process by the City of Liberty.
- The City of Liberty has provided fire and other emergency services to the annexation area including in 2004 through interlocal agreements when Duke Energy in the Moss Bluff Transmission Block had a major fire sending flames 1,000 feet high with area evacuations. Liberty provided equipment and trained personnel in the emergency to help Moss Bluff emergency responders to control the disaster. Liberty lost a fire truck to fire while having Liberty emergency personnel exposed to risk-of-life during an extended time. Liberty will not be assuming responsibility for Hwy 563 emergency responses in the proposed annexation area outside the present Liberty City limits.
- Total CAD valuation, excluding the 21 MBTB entities $158+ million, is approximately $14.5 million, with a potential tax revenue generation at $0.59/100 of about $85,000 before exemptions. But most non-MBTB properties are subject to ad valorem tax exemptions of differing amounts due to being federally owned or having agricultural exemptions. The United States alone federally owns real property of $6.6 million in CAD valuation 100% tax exempt, representing about 45% of the total non-MBTB block total valuation.
- The estimated cost of the annexation program, including legal, surveying, engineering and planning, is $120,000 total over 18-24 months for the 9 annexation phases. An annexation cost recovery period of 3 months is projected after tax payment collection in the 9 phase program.
- Estimated City of Liberty Increase in ad valorem tax revenues are $935-$950,000 annually from MBTB, plus $45,000 from non-exempt/non-MBTB; or about $980,000 total annually. 95% of new tax revenues are estimated from MBTB properties, with 75%+ of MBTB from the 3 largest MBTB properties.
- The annexation program equates to an ad valorem tax rate increase of $0.16 per $100 valuation as the tax rate increase required to raise $935,000 annually that annexation will produce. The savings to present City of Liberty ad valorem tax payers by not having a $0.16 per $100 ad valorem tax increase is $160 annually on a $100,000 property or $240 annually on a $150,000 valuation property. This is not a reduction of the present advalorem tax rate of $0.59 per $100 valuation, but the amount of increase avoided by implementing the annexation program proposed.
- Because of the complexity of the City of Liberty annexation project with Trinity River planning, engineering and surveying, both legal counsel (Olson & Olson) and the Community Development Advisory Board to the City Council of Liberty recommend hiring a firm offering turn-key engineering, planning and survey services and able to provide such services immediately and timely for the implementation for a sequential annexation process.
Mark W. Whitely & Assoc, in Beaumont, Texas is preparing a turn-key bid for the project. Regrettably, no known local entity in Liberty is qualified or has the expertise in combined engineering, surveying and planning services to oversee the proposed Liberty annexation project.
- Entities or individuals in the annexation area can protest annexation, but no single entity or person can individually delay the annexation process. Subdivisions and areas of increased population are being avoided in the annexation plan with almost all in the plan being agriculture, federal game preserves or properties and the MBTB entities.
- The legal steps for annexation includes a review of other political entities in the annexation area which reflects no conflicts and zero outstanding indebtedness in the annexation area that would have to be assumed by Liberty by law if existing to date. Each annexation plan phase must be subject to 2 public hearings and then approval of the Liberty City Council to be finalized.
- Major property owner discussions in the proposed annexation areas will be scheduled. However, because valuations for the Moss Bluff Transmission Block Entities have been established for years and advalorem taxes to other Liberty County political entities have been paid without current protest, a major issue in most annexation programs is avoided, including the cost and delays of such protests on asset valuation. Also, the initial plan for annexation was filed years ago, published in the local newspapers and reported on KSHN radio. Only minimal changes are now proposed.
- Timing is of the essence now or the opportunity for annexation in the proposed areas for Liberty, Texas almost certainly will be lost in the very near future. Also of concern, City of Liberty advalorem tax collections will be reduced in the immediate future due to the downturn in the area and national economy with loss of petroleum service entities such as Key and Schlumberger plus a significant reduction in Boomerang Tube ad valorem taxes caused by reduced sales.