Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 23rd Select Committee Meeting

I attended the Select Committee on Annexation meeting and it was very lightly attended by the general public. It was interesting though.

This meeting was supposed to be dedicated to deciding what the Committee was going to recommend to the General Assembly when they convene on May 15th.

The first item on the Agenda was a presentation by Tony Tetterton of Johnston County. He has put together a very professional and well documented Power Point that cataloged and demonstrated case examples of NC cities stretching, violating and abusing the Annexation Statutes. His presentation was the underscore to all of the testimony from hundreds of citizens who have come to the Public Hearings and have otherwise shared their story with the Committee.

The Committee members then each presented their ideas on what should be the priority recommendation. It was nearly unanimous that the first thing needed is a moratorium on forced annexation, including those now in progress.

After deliberating, the Committee added satellite annexations to the moratorium and took a vote on Rep. Goforth's motion to recommend a moratorium. The only two members to vote against this were Judith Wegner and Rep. Tucker.
If any of those reading this are Tucker's constituents, I do hope that you will remember this when you go to the polls to vote in November.

Rep. Larry Brown re-affirmed his commitment to the fight to change this law and restore a vote on annexation to the people.

Rep Nelson Dollar stated that the citizens have ZERO rights with the current law and this needs addressing. He noted how the number of annexations have 'ramped up' over the last several years. He stated that if the lawmakers could not approve a direct vote, then giving the County Commissioners a deciding voice in city annexations would be the next best thing.

After much deliberating by all, the motion was made and the vote taken. This vote is just one step on the way to passing a moratorium and a tiny step toward getting meaningful reform of the laws. There is a lot of work ahead for everyone who wants real change. The letters have to continue and a strong focus on the Senators is needed now.

Mr. Andy Romanet, from the NCLM, was at the meeting today along with several others from the League office.
A representative from the NCACC was sitting with the NCLM crowd.
Mr. Romanet spoke to the Committee at the end to let them know that he was not at all happy with the fact that he was not given the opportunity to review Tony Tetterton's video presentation in advance of the meeting! Really!! Why should he have been given that??
We were not given that opportunity before the NCLM gave their presentations.

The representative from the County Commissioners Association responded to a request from the Committee for the views of the County Commissioners. Mr. Paul Meyer, who is the Associations Senior Associate General Council, told the Committee about the Annexation Study Subcommittee that submitted their recommendations at a meeting held on 4/18. He did not share the details of the report. He told the Committee that the Association Board planned to work with the NCLM in a joint review of the recommendations before they would approve any of the Subcommittee's recommendations.
I was provided a copy of the recommendations and make them available to you at the link above the Legislative Update window.

There seems to be a notable level of agreement between quite a few of the organizations that have submitted recommendations to the Study Committee.

Now we need to convince the Study Committee and the majority of the NC House and Senate to come to agreement that these proposed changes need to be adopted.
Let's start hammering the NC Senate to get onboard.

The NCLM wasted no time in sending out the word to cities to start contacting the Legislators immediately to try and derail any chances for this moratorium.

And don't forget to ask ALL candidates for their position on reforming forced annexation. I have been posting the candidate who have taken a public position for reforming annexation to the website:

Please try to come to Raleigh on June 4th for the Fourth Annual Annexation Reform Rally. This year, with the momentum for reform building, it is extremely important that the attendance numbers reach the hundreds. Every year, the Rally has grown and this has had a very positive affect on how the General Assembly has responded to the citizens requests for reform. Please mark your calendars and make plans to be in downtown Raleigh for the afternoon.

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