How does a city jump from being America's seventh-largest to its fifth? In the case of San Antonio, by grabbing the land around it. The Texas city is considering annexing as many as 66 square miles of land around it, a move that would boost its population by 200,000, to 1.6 million residents, and allow it to hopscotch above Philadelphia and Phoenix in the population rankings. The move is designed with a different figure in mind: tax revenue. Estimates from the city's planning agency suggest that within two decades, the added areas (currently part of unincorporated Bexar County, as per My San Antonio) would produce an extra $77 million in revenue, even after the additional expense of providing services to those residents is considered. A Dec. 4 vote by the San Antonio City Council gave the green light to a fiscal analysis of the move.
It certainly wouldn't be the first time San Antonio has tacked on some land, reports the Wall Street Journal: In 1980 it measured 262 square miles, compared to today's 486. Annexing three of the proposed five areas under consideration would take four years: Those three will be studied through next December, when a city council vote is penciled in; if it votes in favor of the annexation (which the Journal sees as likely), full annexation would take three more years, during which residents of the affected areas would not yet pay city taxes, reports the San Antonio Business Journal. As one resident of an area being eyed tells the Journal, "No one ever wants to pay more taxes. One of the selling points of this community is that you live close to city amenities, but you get to pay reduced taxes." Bexar County only levies a property tax. (An even more unusual annexation flop had Canadians eyeing this island.)