What is annexation?

Annexation means the adding of land to the boundaries of an incorporated municipality, making the property a part of the municipality. This is done two ways; referendum vote and a petition for voluntary annexation.

The length of the annexation process varies from one process to another. An annexation petition could go as quickly as a few months, while a referendum vote can take as long as a year. The most recent annexations have taken an average of two months.

A parcel, or piece of land, can only be annexed if the property is in the County and adjacent or contiguous to the municipal boundaries of the City of Lake City.

For the property owner annexation will mean an improvement in services, such as fire, police, garbage pickup, stormwater improvements and maintenance along with roadway maintenance, provided to Lake City residents. With this service improvement comes a slight increase in utility and franchise fees and ad valorem taxes.


Annexation Types

There are two methods for annexation: referendum and voluntary.

Referendum: A referendum allows that all registered voters in a geographic area vote on the issue of annexation. A simple majority (50% plus one vote) prevails, and the annexation becomes effective. The voting may be at the polling place, or by mail. The effective date may be immediate, or up to a year after the vote.

Petition for Voluntary annexation allows the property owner to individually decide if he or she wants their property to become part of a municipality. The property owner signs and submits a petition requesting voluntary annexation to the municipality. There is no limitation on the number of properties involved in this process. It can involve one parcel or several at the same time.


Improved Government Efficiency

The irregular boundaries between the City and the County require a duplication of services for the outlying areas in and around the City boundaries. One house could be in the City, served by a City police officer, City fire truck, stormwater maintenance and a garbage truck, while the house next door could be contacting the County for police, fire and other services. The City and County are spending the same amount of monies for the same services to the same area.

Eliminating the irregular boundaries eliminates confusion as to whether a particular parcel should be receiving services from the City or the County, and removes the need for duplicate services to be provided to the same area. Fire and police departments can determine whether calls for service are within their respective jurisdictions.


More State Funding

State Revenue Sharing funds are allocated on the basis of population to counties and cities. The formula for distribution to cities relies more heavily on population. Therefore more funding per person is distributed to Lake City for municipal residents than Columbia County. That means more funding from the State actually come to the community.


Greater Representation

As a Lake City citizen, you will have a direct voice on issues that directly impact the community you live, work and play. Your elected officials, five City Council members, and various city officials are easily accessible, while still maintaining your privilege of voting for your county commissioner.



Annexation increases a city's size and population, raising its level of political influence, its prestige and its ability to attract desirable commercial development. It may also increase its ability to attract grant assistance.


Services for City Residents

  • Street sweeping is carried out on a regular maintenance schedule.
  • The City is responsible for the collection and removal of garbage and recycling of items within the city limits of Lake City. Services include twice a week household garbage pickup, bulky item (junk) pickup upon request.
  • Lake City Utilities provides water, wastewater and natural gas to most of the urban unincorporated area around Lake City, as well as City residents.
  • While the level of expertise and policing skills at the Lake City Police Department and the Columbia County Sheriff's Office are comparable, the City of Lake City is able to offer better response times and more comprehensive police coverage of the area and is an accredited agency.
  • The average police zone size for Lake City is 3.62 square miles. This enables rapid law enforcement response inside Lake City and provides additional officers for support in close proximity.
  • Lake City Fire Department provides first responder support and fire suppression from the City's main fire station, strategically placed in the center of the City. Their average response time is approximately 4 minutes, with additional resources for support in close proximity. Also, due to the City of Lake City Fire Department is able to offer better response times and more comprehensive coverage of the incorporated area and the availability of fire hydrants allows for lower insurance rates to home owners and businesses inside the City limits. The City’s ISO rating has dropped to a four from a five and is expected to drop to a three soon. This translates to lower insurance ratings inside the City.
  • Lake City's life safety codes (building, fire, etc.) and zoning code enforcement staff have a much higher density in Lake City, and providing a better response rate. Typically, code enforcement complaints are dealt with in 48 hours of the initial complaint. This means abandoned vehicles should be dealt with quickly. The staffing levels are similar in Lake City and Columbia County, with a smaller service area served by the City of Lake City


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