LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A committee of the Louisville Metro Council voted unanimously Monday to allow the city of St. Matthews to annex 11 homes on Springwood Lane.

If the full Metro Council approves, it will be the first formally blessed annexation by a suburban city since the creation of Metro government in 2003. The city-county merger froze the boundaries of Jefferson County's 82 independent cities for 12 years.

Earlier this year, Metro Council President Jim King expressed concern about allowing suburban cities to begin growing their territory again, saying it runs counter to the idea of one, unified government for the whole county.

But council members including King listed a number of reasons to allow the St. Matthews annexation to go through. The ordinance approved Monday by the Council's Ad Hoc Committee on Annexations says the move is appropriate because:

-- A limited number of houses are involved
-- The small tract of land is "completely surrounded" by St. Matthews
-- Springwood Lane is currently unincorporated territory (not part of the old City of Louisville)
-- All of the homeowners signed a petition requesting the annexation
-- St. Matthews already provides city services to the subdivision (the first two homes on the cul-de-sac are within St. Matthews, but not the other 11)

Originally, the ordinance also said the annexation would mean "a minimal loss of tax revenue" for Metro government and could result in a savings to Metro since it would "no longer being legally responsible for municipal services."

But Metro Councilman Kelly Downard, chairman of the committee, said that language was deleted because it was hard to quantify the loss of revenue and/or potential savings.

As WDRB reported in January, the larger issue is which local government will offer new city services like garbage pickup and street lights to unincorporated areas -- Metro government or suburban cities like St. Matthews and Jeffersontown?

Downard the St. Matthews annexation is "any easy one" to approve since 100 percent of the property owners agreed to it.

The committee now turns to developing criteria the Metro Council should consider when approving future annexations by suburban cities, including ones in which not all home or business owners want to be annexed.

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