The growing city of Olive Branch is about to grow again... literally.
Aldermen at their Tuesday night meeting approved an annexation ordinance that starts the process to add two areas to the city.
One is an area south of the current city limits that consists of Pleasant Hill, Bridgetown, Lewisburg and Cedar View communities.
The other area is east of the current city limits and makes up the Center Hill community.
Once completed, Olive Branch's population would grow by about 14,000 residents and would add 50 square miles and about 5,000 homes.
"This is something we have been working on for more than 20 years and it is about to come to fruition," said Mayor Scott Phillips Wednesday morning about the action.
The city must still file a petition in DeSoto County Chancery Court to start the process and public notice of the court proceedings will be provided as the law requires.
The last time Olive Branch took the move of adding this amount of land inside its city limits came in 1996, when the city's boundary was extended west to Malone Road.
School attendance zone boundaries are not affected by the move.
Olive Branch officials stated the basis for their move is that it has spent millions of dollars adding utilities during the past two decades.
The proposed areas have been eyed as part of the city's future growth plans during that time.
City officials believe it has been that ability to offer services that has helped the affected areas grow to the point where the county has doubled in population in the past 20 years.
Olive Branch already provides fire protection services in much of the proposed annexation areas, either as the primary or secondary provider.
It was pointed out that some homeowners may see lower insurance premiums as a result because Olive Branch will now bring their property under its 24-hour fire department coverage.
Annexation does come at a cost to the residents affected, however. Ad valorem taxes on real property and automobile tags would likely increase for those new residents of Olive Branch.
For instance, a home with an appraised value of $160,000 would see their estimated city property tax become $616. A residence valued by the County Tax Assessor at $240,000 would face a city property tax bill of $924 annually and the figure becomes $1,232 for a home valued at $320,000, city officials estimated.
They were quick to point out, however, that Olive Branch still has the lowest tax rate of the four largest DeSoto County municipalities.
Information about the annexation has been provided on the city's website, including the base map of the area affected, and overview of the annexation and the ordinance that was enacted Tuesday evening.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.