SMITHS STATION, AL (WTVM) - New legislation is growing an East Alabama city and sparking the interest of its neighbors.
Governor Kay Ivey signed House Bill 373 allowing Smiths Station to expand out affecting close to 200 property owners.
"We expanded our borders a little over 400 acres, 740 parcels. The borders expand some down Summerville Road and some towards where Phenix City meets Lee County," said Smiths Station Mayor Bubba Copeland.
House Bill 373 displays 184 tracts of land affecting 170 property owners who are now annexed into Smiths Station city limits.
"The areas in pink are areas we are describing as split parcels, which are parcels partially in the city and partially in the county," said Smiths Station City Clerk Scott Johnston as he showed a map of how properties are annexed. "It's going to be easier for the city to grow and it's going to be easy to enforce ordinances."
Areas like Summerville Road for people who were annexed into Smiths Station with this bill will now receive city services like trash pick up.
City officials said it is hard to tell what was county and what was city when the border runs down the middle of a particular property, so they hope new annexations will get everyone on the same page.
There are some spots of "unclaimed" land near Summerville Road. Part of the road is in Phenix City and part of it is in Smiths Station.
District 1 Phenix City Councilman Steve Bailey, who represents the area, said it may be time for Phenix City to get aggressive with developing land.
"Me being the council member representing District 1, which is the end of town which will grow towards Smiths Station, the city needs to be aggressive because the land is going to have infrastructure put in by one of the two cities. I believe it needs to be put in an offered for the people to choose whether to annex into Phenix City or Smiths Station," said Bailey.
Bailey said the timing is right and there could eventually be issues for Phenix City if they are not aggressive.
"If we don't do it, we are going to lose the opportunity to ever try to move forward up Summerville Road, up 280, and 431 north," said Bailey.
Meantime, city officials in Smiths Station said they are looking forward to growing their city.
"If you can make your competition or you can make another city become more aggressive, by all means, that helps the citizens out and we are all in this together to help the citizens out," Copeland said.
Recently, a five-millage property tax was passed for Smiths Station. The tax will not affect the properties which were just annexed until the end of 2019.
Mayor Copeland and city staff said they are thankful for bill sponsor, Representative Isaac Whorton, and all legislators in Montgomery along with Governor Kay Ivey.