Last Modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 11:52 AM
One Lake Charles City Council member is bucking the trend of heading west for prosperity.
Instead, Rodney Geyen wants the city to extend and develop its southeast corridor through annexation.
Tonight, the City Council will vote on a resolution sponsored by Geyen to allow Mayor Randy Roach’s administration to study and plan annexation of property to the southeast of the city.
Geyen said the concept is not new.
“It has been on the books and talked about for years. As the city grows economically, we want to grow the population, and that means growing the tax base,” he said.
Geyen said the area he is focusing on has been enhanced due to the extension of East McNeese Street, the construction of a new charter school, and the growth of new subdivisions there.
“The more people we get into the city, the more federal dollars that are available to us, too,” he said.
City Administrator John Cardone intends to have city staff meet with at least three City Council members to discuss annexation next week.
“First, we want them (City Council members) to identify what areas they want us to evaluate,” he said. “Then staff will do cost of services and costs-benefits analyses.”
Cardone said council President Mark Eckard has expressed interest in seeing sections south of Lake Charles annexed into the city.
“Ultimately we want to know what it would cost to have infrastructure and then to maintain that. Also, we want to know how growing will affect the city’s fire insurance rating,” Cardone said.
A report will eventually be provided to the whole City Council, which will have to decide if the city should grow.
In October 2007, two McNeese State professors compiled an annexation study for City Hall.
Michael Kurth and Daryl Burckel concluded then that “the cost of annexing areas that are already developed is likely to exceed the potential benefits for the city. If the city wants to expand, it should focus on extending municipal services to undeveloped areas with the understanding that these areas will be annexed once development is complete.”
In 2007, City Hall said the estimated cost of providing water and sewer in four potential areas for annexation was $210 million; yearly operating costs would total $2.4 million.