Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Senator Berger's Response to State of the State address

NOTE: Annexation Repeal Bills are NOT on the Finance Committee Calendar for Wednesday, 2/16

In the response to the Governor's State of the State address, Senator Berger included this firm and unequivocal statement;
"To help you protect your property rights, we will pass a moratorium on forced annexations."

Please take the time to thank Senator Berger for standing strong against forced annexation and making this statement a part of his response that the whole State heard. Phil.Berger@ncleg.net

Also contact Rep. Tom Tillis, Speaker of the House, Tom.Tillis@ncleg.net and let him know that thousands of people across the State are waiting and anxious to see the House Moratorium Bill move forward soon.
In the Senate State and Local Government Committee meeting today @ 12 noon, the Senate Moratorium on Forced Annexation Bill, S27, was on the agenda for a vote.

The rows of seats for the public were full of citizens showing their support for the Bill by wearing red attire. Six or seven rows approximately. The very last row was filled by representatives from the NCLM and even Ellis Hankins showed up for the meeting, but he did not have any public comments for the committee.

Kent Dozier, a citizen who was forcibly annexed by Rocky Mount was the first person to speak to the Committee and he did an excellent job of explaining how he, as a property owner who is now paying taxes to Rocky Mount, received NOTHING from the Town that he needed or wanted or that improved his property or life. The only thing that was added to his life was an additional tax bill from Rocky Mount.
He told the Committee that when he asked the Mayor of Rocky Mount why he annexed his and the largely rural property around him, the Mayor flat out told him that it was for the money.
Kent's testimony was a wonderful thing to be present for.  Well done Kent! Thanks!

Tony Tetterton spoke next, and he refuted the comparisons that the city lobbyists have made about NC versus Virginia. After throwing out a lot of statistics and calling attention to a spreadsheet he put together that compares the way the 50 States "do annexation", he finished by bringing to the Senators attention a fact that the city lobbyists like to muddle with confusion regarding the extension of water and sewer to landowners outside of the city limits. Tony reminded them of a point with which I have many times refuted the "water & sewer excuse" to forcibly annex that has been made by the city bunch:
The water and sewer services that cities and towns provide are indeed separate from the property taxes the city charges and this utility is a separate enterprise business that is paid for with user fees.
If the city officials made a decision to extend the utility to additional customers outside of the city limits, then that is a business decision that the city made that has NOTHING to do with forced annexation or annexation AT ALL.
Good point made Tony. Thanks for bringing it to the Committee's attention.

At this point Senator Don East made a motion to approve the Bill. No one else came forward to speak on the bill. It seemed like the time was right to get on with the vote and end the discussion.
The Chair ended the Public Comments.

Before the vote was taken, Senator Hartsell raised his hand to be recognized. Hartsell was the first to once again bring up the request that the cities that are now proceeding with an annexation be exempted from the moratorium and be allowed to complete the forced annexation. Remember that people. Especially those of you who vote in Hartsell's District. He wanted to throw all the current victims under the bus for the sake of his loyalty to the League of Municipalities.

Senator Blake then asked to be recognized and he also supported the idea of exempting cities from the moratorium. He did begin his comments by stating that he supported the moratorium.

Then Senator Kinnard also took the opportunity to try to make the case for exempting cities from the moratorium.

Senator Brock's reply was perfect. He stated that the people who have been working to change the law and reign in the abuses (including himself) have been waiting 8 to 10 years for the League of Municipalities to come to the table and be reasonable to no avail. He explained that the Bill will be discussed further in the Senate Finance Committee where the Bill would go next AND that there would be ample opportunity to discuss the bill that would change the annexation laws when it came out.

The vote was then taken and was unanimously approved to be sent to the Senate Finance Committee.

The meeting was short and sweet for the citizens who came to support the Bill and well worth being a witness to. Thank you once again, Senator Brock! Send your thanks to Andrew.Brock@ncleg.net
and the other committee members who supported the Bill.
All the Committee Members Contact info found here:  http://tinyurl.com/6ygmrtj

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