Generally a city provides sewer service to any area that it annexes. Bryant proposes to double its geographic size by annexing mostly rural areas in Saline County. How is it possible to pay for such a large expansion of sewer service where there will be so few customers to pay for it?
There are many unanswered questions about issues such as how much it would cost to tie into the new sewer system, and how this would affect utility rates for current city residents. If the cost is too high, most people in existing houses will not want to switch to sewer lines. Where will the money come from to pay for sewer installation in a rural area when most of the sparse population does not opt to connect, and therefore does not pay a sewer fee?
Update: Faber Grable reports that the Bryant City Council has no intention of paying for new sewer service to the annexed area. When Bryant says residents in the annexed area will have the option to connect to the Bryant sewer system, perhaps what they mean is that developers will pay all costs for installing sewer lines and transport lines to connect their new housing subdivision to the Bryant sewer system. If current residents want to connect to the Bryant sewer system, they would likely have to form an improvement district which would sell bonds and raise taxes to pay back the money. Anyone living within that improvement district would have to pay the increased taxes whether they connect to the new sewer system or not. That sounds like a recipe for lowering property values even lower than they already are.
What happens if increased taxes and utility bills are not enough to pay off the bonds? Would we have a smaller version of the Jefferson County Alabama (Birmingham) sewer system which is on the verge of bankruptcy with a $3 Billion debt? Benton claimed that they would provide sewer service to the areas they wanted to annex, but it is unclear how they would have paid for it.
The Bryant "City to County" brochure says;
"Bryant provides a variety of local services to residents such as police and fire protection, sewer and water services..." and "Residents who wish to convert" (to city sewer service from septic system) "would do so independently."
This implies that Bryant would also provide the same services to newly annexed residents. Are we talking about hooking on to a sewer line at the street, or miles away? It seems that there are too many unanswered questions about the proposed annexations.