Papillion took the first step in completing the most aggressive annexation in the history of the city during Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting.
The commission unanimously approved recommending the city’s plan to annex five SIDs as well as two industrial areas in western Sarpy County.
The annexation plan will be introduced before the Papillion City Council at its June 18 meeting. A public hearing and council vote will take place at subsequent meetings.
If approved, the annexation will take effect 15 days after approval.
The annexed areas are the subdivisions of Eagle Hills, Eagle Ridge, Eagle Crest, Riverchase and Walnut Creek Estates as well as the industrial areas of Oxbow Way and Schram Road, and Highway 50 subdivision. Oxbow Way is where Omaha Box Company is located while the Schram and Highway 50 area will be the home to the new data center, currently known as Project Wizard.
According to Amber Powers, assistant city administrator, the annexation takes in 3,266 residents and 1,265 households.
Papillion Mayor David Black said the timing is right to make the significant annexation plan.
“I believe it’s the largest one we’ve done as a city,” he said. “To me, it makes sense to do one this large. If you do a small one and don’t hire more staff, then you’re stretching your current staff. To have a larger annexation and hire more staff works for us.”
Powers said the city plans on hiring two police officers if the annexation passes as well as two public works employees.
The total valuation of the annexed area is estimated at $345 million. The city would inherit $7.6 million in debt.
“We look at several factors when we consider annexation,” Powers said.
“When an SID can have a cash flow, they are considered for an annexation package. We look for a debt-to-value ratio under 5 percent and look at the overall impact it will have on the city.”
Black echoed Powers’ belief that the annexation plan makes financial sense for all parties.
“When you prepare for an annexation, you have to look at two factors financially,” Black said. “How much is it going to cost to provide services and how much debt are we taking on? Do we have enough income to bring in to cover this and purely from a business standpoint, we do.”
Papillion’s last major annexation took place in December of 2017 when it added the Cottonwood subdivision. Black said that annexation paved the way for more to be added down the road.
“Once we added Cottonwood, it made us contiguous to the Eagles,” Black said. “The SID boards have been working to get to this point and have done a good job communicating with their residents. I haven’t heard any negative feedback.”
During the public hearing portion of Wednesday’s Planning Commission meeting, a handful of residents, including two SID board presidents, spoke favorably of the annexation plan. There was no one who spoke in opposition of the plan.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the day of the council meeting and the debt-to-value ratio.