No decision has yet been made on including Coral Creek or Roscoe Field areas. Upcoming research will look at the implications of including each of these areas. The final decision for inclusion will be based on four factors: identity, feasibility, liability, and interest.
We learned from other proposed municipal incorporations to research surrounding areas, considering whether or not it makes sense to include them. The initial study boundaries did not include Coral Creek or Roscoe Field (formerly Ferguson Airfield) areas. In December, 2023, the feasibility study firm will update projections with the new year’s tax numbers. They’ve been asked to individually look at each of these areas to see if it makes sense to include them. They will look from a feasibility perspective, both financially and what unfunded liabilities are in each area. We will also conduct research polling. Both of these proposed boundary additions are still very much just in the research phase.
Identity is another key factor. Considering what is and isn’t “Perdido” has been a research topic throughout the effort. Pleasant Grove is fairly well-defined and carries a strong identity. Perdido Bay is well defined, and its identity strengthens the closer it gets to the water’s edge. Warrington is less defined, with over five miles of urban sprawl across well-established neighborhoods along Bayou Grande, like Navy Point and Beach Haven. Eventually, Warrington dissolves into “West Side” and Perdido. Some have suggested that Coral Creek is in Warrington, while others say Warrington ends at Dog Track. You can also find businesses miles away from Pedido that claim the name as their own. Nailing down identity is sometimes more art than science.
However, the inclusion or exclusion of areas is not based on identity alone. We are investigating all aspects: identity, feasibility, liability, and interest. Feasibility and liability will be looked at by the research firm in December 2023. Interest can be accurately tracked by statistical polling. And interest ties directly to potential benefits. For instance, Coral Creek and surrounding neighborhoods experienced a 40%+ aggregate tax increase just this year. While homestead exemptions cap individual increases at 3%, the recent spike in home values has virtually locked in a 3% annual tax increase for homesteaded owners in this area. Non-homestead owners who rent their properties (and apartments) will take the brunt of this massive increase and pass the cost on to renters. This relentless march of county tax increases will continue, regardless of municipal incorporation.
The big question everyone should be asking is this: Why are all these new tax dollars leaving the community to fund projects elsewhere in the county? Coral Creek, for example, has real needs with regard to infrastructure. There are no nearby parks and no plans for walkability. Yet folks from the apartments walk or take electric wheelchairs on the shoulder of Blue Angel Parkway to get their groceries – many in the dark as traffic buzzes by. These neighborhoods are beginning to experience what the rest of Perdido has been feeling for several years. They have huge local challenges that a new town could directly address by returning more existing tax dollars to the community. How much would return to the community? That’s one of the questions we are asking.
So, why are these areas being considered? Because on some level they share an identity with their surrounding community. Because their residents may benefit from more localized attention and infrastructure, along with curbing unchecked development. Because citizens may be interested in bringing home their existing tax dollars to improve their own neighborhoods. And because citizens asked that they be considered. Does it make sense to ultimately include these areas? The jury is still out on that. We hope to know more by the end of this year.