The City of Bellevue is moving forward with an annexation plan that leaders say will expand the city’s tax base, help Bellevue grow and improve services to those being annexed.

By June, more than 750 people are likely to be annexed into the city, and Bellevue expects to receive more than $363,000 in property tax revenue as a result.

The first round of annexations — including about 500 people, 180 parcels and an estimated $206,000 in tax revenue — was approved by the City Council on a unanimous vote Tuesday. The second round will be presented to the council May 21, bringing the total residents added to more than 750. Then, later this year, city officials have more annexations slated.

“I know it appears to be a very aggressive annexation plan,” Mayor Rusty Hike said at Tuesday’s meeting. “That’s intentional.”

Hike said the city is playing catch-up after many years of mostly leaving its boundaries alone. The last annexation package occurred in 2013, when Bellevue incorporated miscellaneous pockets of land. In 2008, it annexed about a dozen sanitary and improvement districts.

There was no public discussion Tuesday. However, at a public hearing last month that stretched late into the night, several property owners spoke against being annexed, saying they won’t benefit even as their property taxes increase.

Some of those people grew up on farms and intentionally bought land away from the pace and control of city life. Others said they’re happy with the services they receive from Sarpy County, including snow removal and Sheriff’s Office patrols.

Nearly every speaker in April mentioned that they will probably pay hundreds of dollars in additional property taxes each year.

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Under Bellevue’s levy of 61 cents per $100 of valuation, the property tax on a home valued at $150,000 could increase by about $600 to $700, depending on their fire protection costs. Property owners will no longer pay their fire district levy once they’re incorporated into the city.

Those opposing annexation have a common question: What am I receiving in return for those taxes?

Hike told the speakers that they’ll receive all the services provided by a city: street maintenance and snow removal, a police force and a library, for example. They’ll have a say in Bellevue politics by gaining a vote in city elections.

Some of the residents being annexed already receive city services but aren’t paying taxes for them, Hike said. Some of them turn out of their driveways onto city streets. Others have benefited from the response of the city’s police force if an emergency requires their presence.

“We don’t want anybody to think we’re picking on them,” Hike said. “We’re trying to make this city grow the way it’s supposed to grow.”

Chris Oaks, who lives on an acreage off 39th Street near Giles Road, wasn’t convinced by Hike’s arguments. Oaks, 58, said he’s happy with the services Sarpy County provides. He hires his own trash hauler.

And now that his property is annexed, he said he’ll have to pay $660 more in property taxes.

“They don’t have a lick of empathy,” Oaks said before the meeting. “It’s very disheartening to see all this transpire.”

Some affected property owners who have land with an agriculture zoning designation said they were opposed because they’ll lose their greenbelt tax status, which values farmland near cities lower to protect the owners from being taxed out of business.

Under state law, property owners lose their greenbelt status when brought into city limits. Chris Shewchuk, Bellevue’s planning director, said 42 parcels owned by 24 entities will lose their greenbelt status between the two rounds of annexation. At least one of those entities is the city itself.

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reece.ristau@owh.com, 402-444-1127, @reecereports

Reece covers Sarpy County for The World-Herald. He's a born-and-raised Nebraskan and UNL grad who spent time in Oklahoma and Virginia before returning home. Follow him on Twitter @reecereports. Phone: 402-444-1127

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