City poised to start annexation

Joseph Brown/ The Item

The city limits of Huntsville may be expanding. 

Huntsville City Manager Aron Kulhavy said he expects to present ideas for the annexation of multiple tracts of land surrounding Huntsville in a workshop on Tuesday. All of the areas looking to be annexed are within the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) — land outside of the city limits that receives some form of city services.

“We are focusing on undeveloped tracts within the ETJ,” Kulhavy said.

Kulhavy said that the annexation would include between 7,000 to 8,000 acres of land that are already serviced with city water and sewer. Officials estimate that the annexations would add approximately $50,000 to the tax roll and affect less than 100 citizens. State law limits annexations to 9,000 acres.

“We are looking at raw land that is primed for future development,” Kulhavy added. “We are still putting the final touches on the maps, but we are not annexing any existing neighborhoods.

Annexation discussions restarted amongst city staff after Senator Charles Schwertner (R-Texas 5th), who represents Walker County, filed state legislation that would require a public vote for any municipal annexation involving populations over 200 people. Current law only requires a public vote for cities located in counties with populations of 500,000 or more.

A subsequent bill was passed by the Texas House of Representatives last week.

“Annexation is a topic that has been kicked around for a while and there is proposed legislation that would affect the city’s ability to do so in the future,” Kulhavy said. “We have been coordinating our efforts to be sure that we are prepared to do what is best for the citizens of Huntsville.”

Kulhavy stated that the city council will be presented with an annexation map on Tuesday with the full plan expected to be announced next month.