Thursday, December 11, 2008

Joint Annexation Study Commission 12/17 meeting

The next meeting of the Joint Commission to Study Municipal Annexation is scheduled:



Members of the Joint Legislative Study Commission on Municipal Annexation

Senator Vernon Malone, Co-Chair
Senator R. C. Soles, Co-Chair
Representative D. Bruce Goforth, Co-Chair
Representative Paul Luebke, Co-Chair

Meeting Notice:
Due to the short time frame before session, any member that has recommendations they would like to present to the committee must do so on the 17th.

The Joint Legislative Study Commission on
Municipal Annexation will meet on the following date:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Room 643 Legislative Office Building

December 5, 2008

I hope that all of you who want to see NC Annexation Law changed have been writing, calling, and emailing the Joint Commission Members, letting them know what you want them to change about the annexation laws.
Taking the time to do this is very important.

There are too many Legislators on the Joint Commission who think forced annexation is a good thing for North Carolina and the cities. The cities told them it was true, so they believe it.
These Legislators clearly haven't heard enough yet from the citizens who disagree. They need to hear a lot more from the citizens to balance out the years of repetition that they've heard from the cities.

If you can make it to Raleigh to attend the meeting on the 17th, that would be a real good way to emphasize the points you made in your previous communication with the Legislators. Think of your presence at the meeting as a visual underline and bold to what you wrote or said to them before the meeting. I wouldn't count on being able to say much more to them at this meeting. It doesn't look like the citizens are going to be given any other chances to weigh in about what needs to change. The meeting is only two hours long.

At the December 4th meeting, Chairman Malone became anxious to quickly adjourn the meeting soon after Professor Lawrence finished his presentation. He seemed more worried about getting to lunch on time than continuing any real discussion of the annexation issue. He also made it very clear that the December 17th meeting was going to be the "last call" for the members to weigh in with proposed changes. As you can see, this warning was repeated in the Official Notice of the meeting. There won't be much time to listen to all the members on this Commission.

A good number of the Senate Legislators on the Commission seem to be a bit bored with the excercise of holding these meetings and didn't have too much to say on the 4th.
It's almost like they don't think they really have any work to do.

Could it be that all the work has been done, or will be done, outside of these meetings?
I'd say yes.
And the rumors are going around from people closer to what's really going on that the Chairs are planning to meet with League Officials on the 16th.
I'd say the League has already had their private session with some of these Legislators and have given them the "approved" changes for the Commission to recommend.

Here is my “crystal ball” prediction on the final recommendations.

The final recommendations (as the Senate side will propose) are going to:
  1. Require all cities to adopt long range “Annexation Plans” like Charlotte and Raleigh currently use.

  2. Require all cities to offer amortized financing terms for water and sewer development charges.

  3. Tighten the statutory language that the cities ‘get around’ in order to annex narrow strips of land.

  4. Set up a State fund to help all cities pay for the water and sewer infrastructure when they annex low income/minority areas.

Recommendation 4 works nicely with the mission of the 'Institute for Emerging Issues' that the NC League of Municipalities helped establish at NCSU and now promotes.

The NCLM is really expanding their reach and influence into more and more aspects of government and policy all the time.

I'll report more on that another time.

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