Southwind-Windyke, Rocky Point areas win de-annexation from Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Around 2,700 homeowners will finally get the independence they’ve been fighting for since their neighborhoods were forcibly annexed by the city several years ago.

Memphis City Council voted overwhelmingly Tuesday evening to de-annex the Southwind-Windyke area in southeast Memphis as well as the Rocky Point area in far-east Cordova.

The de-annexations take effect in 2021.

Doyle Silliman, who serves as president of the Windyke Area Neighborhood Association, said he’s lived in the area for decades and remembers a marked change when the city annexed it in 2013.

“Just regular everyday services such as street repairs, garbage and everything has been subpar ever since we’ve been in,” Silliman said.

Beth Jennings, president of the Southwind Homeowners Association, said a low level of city services was a chief reason she and many of her neighbors wanted to leave the city.

“When you have people that are falling down and taking an hour for an ambulance to get there, I mean, that’s very frightening,” Jennings said.

The city projects the de-annexations of Southwind-Windyke and Rocky Point will cost them about $4 million annually in lost tax revenue. This proved a sticking point for Councilman Joe Brown.

“That’s gonna be a deficit. We’re gonna have some problems. We just got rid of our payroll. We just got rid of our payroll,” Brown said.

While homeowners in the de-annexed areas will no longer pay the city taxes starting in 2021, they will still be responsible for paying back debt to the city.

That amount will be determined based on their tax bill in 2020, during which year the city will begin moving its resources out of the areas.

“I’ll stand by my word, I’ll promise you they’ll be back begging for the city to give them some services,” Brown said.

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