The Norfolk City Council saw a possible glimpse of the future of the city Monday night at its regular meeting.
Joe J. Johnson, representing Olsson Inc., gave a presentation on a study looking at areas adjacent to the city that could be annexed in the future.
The study examined about 30 areas on all sides of the city’s current borders, including Woodland Park, and evaluated the cost of incorporating the area compared to the projected tax revenue.
Annexing an area into the city requires making extending public services to the new area, such as police and fire response, water and road maintenance. Some services, such as water and wastewater, would be offset by fees paid by residents, and others such as the public library wouldn’t incur any extra cost.
According to Johnson’s presentation, most of the areas studied would not bring a net financial gain to the city, with the cost outweighing the benefit by more than double in some cases. But Johnson said it would be up to the city to determine what areas would make sense to annex.
“This is a tool … it may make sense to take a different approach to different areas. You may gain population, residences, acreage and evaluate that,” Johnson said.
There are limitations on what areas the city is able to annex. The area up for annexation must be defined as either urban or suburban and must be directly adjacent to the current boundary. Annexation laws are made at the state level.
Mayor Josh Moenning said the study is meant to be a start for future evaluation of the city’s needs.
“This is a framework for evaluation for where it might make the best sense to adjust our boundaries,” Moenning said.
Boundary studies done by a private company are fairly rare, Johnson said, and Norfolk has likely never had one done before now.
The council also approved an increase in the number of downtown parking permits issued and increased the cost of permits from $65 annually to $80. An advisory board appointed by the mayor requested the changes.
The rest of the council meeting mainly consisted of signing and altering infrastructure contracts, increasing costs by nearly $100,000 across a series of contracts.