By Erik Harris
For The Tribune
CLAY — Despite the tug-of-war battle that the Clay City Council fought through Monday night, it did eventually agree to annex six different properties into the city.
Properties at 5793 Cheryl Drive, 5645 Heather Lane, 2344 Carraway Street, 2364 Carraway Street, 2536 Galloway Drive and multiple properties in Kerri Lane Estates were welcomed into the city of Clay.
Five of the six approvals passed with a 4-2 vote. The addition of the Kerri Lane Estates passed 5-1.
Councilman Ricky Baker was adamant in his idea that Clay should not expand its borders for residential purposes. Instead, he believes the city should stay idle unless the expansion targets commercial property, which brings dollars to Clay. Councilman Kevin Small shared many of Baker’s feelings.
“I don’t think we need to expand just to get residential areas,” Baker said. “We need a master plan of annexation and we need to be focusing all of our annexation toward a commercial result.”
Regardless of their strong feelings, Baker and Small simply didn’t have the numbers to trump Mayor Charles Webster and the other three council members.
Webster voiced his attraction to welcoming citizens that want to become a resident of Clay.
“I enjoy people coming in, and I think the people that are wanting to come in to Clay are wanting a good community to live in,” Webster said. “They see Clay as one of the best cities around and that’s exciting to me.”
He also sees financial advantages behind the expansion.
“If we grow area residence by 100 or 200 then that money that we get from Alabama Power, Alabama Gas, Charter Cable, all those franchise fees are going to go up and that’s something steady that you know every year, that’s what it’s going to be,” Webster said. “Those households have steady incomes.”
Baker sees no economic value in the growth and voiced his concerns.
“It costs us more than it’s benefiting us to get the residential [areas],” he said. “That’s just my opinion. I don’t think we need to be expanding.”