Forced Annexation in Memphis

Forced Annexation & the Financial Crisis


financial crisis
“The legacy of annexation, which climaxed in a series of spectacular additions before state lawmakers reined it in last year, may be seen, too, as one of the culprits that pushed Memphis to its financial brink.”

— Marc Perrusquia, The Commercial Appeal
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 Though Memphis has added as many as 157,000 people through annexation since the 1970s, there are fewer of us now — by nearly 8,000 — than in 1975. Fewer of us to repay $1.2 billion in debt, to fund the salaries, health care and retirement of all those city workers. In one devastating three-year period last decade, Memphis spent nearly $80 million more than it took in.

The fallout is ugly and, in some cases, life changing, a consequence of city government’s admission it cannot afford the benefits it promised thousands of workers.

— Marc Perrusquia and Grant Smith, The Commercial Appeal
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“What we did was we created disposable communities,” said former City Councilman Jack Sammons, who will become the city’s new Chief Administrative Officer next month. Over Sammons’ 16 years on the council, Memphis annexed at least five times. “We weren’t adding people. We were building our own coffin.”

— Marc Perrusquia, The Commercial Appeal
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A Few Facts & Figures


charts numbers facts figuresIn 2001, the Office of Planning and Development (OPD) said the annexation of South Cordova’s roughly 4,295 residents and 1,400 acres would have a net negative impact of $6.6 million, including education costs.

“OPD also reported that the annexation would add $15.1 million to the general fund, but cost $17.2 million in services over a 4½-year period. The annexation would also cost the city $8.1 million in capital improvements in that time.”

“In a similar report on the Southwind-Windyke area in 1997, OPD said that annexation would mean a net loss of $23.7 million over 4½ years because of expected expenses related to a new school and more students.”

Thomas Bailey Jr. & Ryan Poe, The Commercial Appeal
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The annexation of South Cordova will produce more expenditures than revenues for the City of Memphis. The General Fund and Debt Service deficits will yield a 9.8 million dollar deficit to the City during Fiscal Years 2002-2006.
OPD report, 2001 (p. 15)



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An annexation map on the Shelby County government website indicates Memphis has completed more than a dozen annexations since 1998.

The Cordova’s Voice Facebook page features a map showing the 4 Cordova neighborhoods annexed since 1998 which could qualify for de-annexation votes.