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Hammock addresses annexation

By Michael Butler

Annexation has been a hot button topic for decades. Tallassee mayor Johnny Hammock says that right now it is not at the top of his priority list.

"When we annex people don't realize how much it costs to take the ownership of those roads, those street lights, the cost of picking up limbs, the cost of police jurisdiction moving out further," he said. "It's real easy for people to say, 'You need to do this. You need to do that.' Let me tell you why we can't do it. Let me get the city in better shape, so we can look at maybe doing that in the future."

Hammock said before any annexation talk is entertained that he wants to see studies first.

"How much is it going to cost? If were to annex Kent, they are on Eclectic water. We can't get any water revenue from them. We don't have gas running out there. Where are we going to get any kind of revenue stream? We need to make it feasible. I know it would help the schools tremendously, but I can't bankrupt the city doing it."

Hammock's reference is to the additional millage tax that is applied to county instead of Tallassee City Schools for those that attend Tallassee but live outside of the city limits.

Another census is less than three years away. Tallassee's population was 4,819 in 2010. Estimates in 2015 showed a drop to 4,778. Although there has been growth in the Tallassee area, most of it has been beyond the city limit signs.

"I've been trying to recruit somebody for the old Walmart building. There are a list of places that have turned it down," Hammock added. "We try to present a 10 or 15-mile radius that is over 14,000. I'm getting push back because of the population. A lot of them just look at the city limits population."

Hammock states that 7,500 seems to be the "magic number" for attracting new business. The city's population has dipped slightly per decade since 1990 when it was 5,112. It has hovered around 5,000 with every census since 1960.

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