Clashes over annexation have happened before. For decades, as cities grew and development encroached on the countryside, mayors have been eager to expand, and homeowners have been unenthusiastic about paying higher taxes. Laws in many states give cities sweeping authority to absorb bordering properties in unincorporated areas whether the owners like it or not.

But the recent annexations in Decatur and some other Illinois cities have been novel because, rather than adding land as a consequence of organic growth, city leaders expanded their boundaries as an answer to population decline.

New York Times