07/06/05 — City annexation battle will head to courtroom

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City annexation battle will head to courtroom

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on July 6, 2005 1:45 PM

Good Neighbors United vowed Tuesday night to continue fighting, despite the City Council's decision to annex them again.

Residents of the subdivisions along Salem Church and Buck Swamp roads gathered outside Goldsboro City Hall immediately after the council's 6-1 vote.

"We knew it was going to happen that way, but I had hoped that as Americans we would not have to come and beg for our freedom," said Carolyn Parrish.

"Goldsboro is going to have to spend a lot more money because the battle is not over," added Susan Mintz.

The residents of the annexation area are now planning a "two-pronged" fight in court, said Bill Burnette, one of the leaders in Good Neighbors United.

They will continue to challenge the city's voluntary annexation of the Lane Farms-Howell property, which made the involuntary annexation possible. That case, which arose out of last year's annexation vote, is currently before the N.C. Court of Appeals. If the court rules the earlier annexation void, Goldsboro would be prohibited from making an involuntary "satellite annexation."

The neighbors are also likely to file a legal challenge to Tuesday's decision within the next 60 days, Burnette said. "Our attorney feels there are areas that we can attack."

The neighbors said they were frustrated but not surprised that the City Council repeated its 2004 decision.

"I felt like what we had to say last year fell on deaf ears, but those ears were even deafer, and maybe dumber, this year," Burnette said.

Burnette praised Councilman Jimmy Bryan, the only one to vote against the annexation, for listening to their concerns, but added, "The rest of the council members went into a defensive crouch and couldn't have used any judgment. It was as if they were going to show us that they could do it and they did.

"I challenge any council member to openly state that he looked at all the issues and can put substance to what he says and please do not give me the much used and abused comment, 'a city has to grow.' The numbers do not support that argument."

Burnette had said that it will take the city as much as 30 years to recoup its costs of annexation.

The city expects to pay more than $7 million to install sewer lines, plus pay around $520,000 a year to serve the new neighborhoods. The city has estimated it could receive up to $700,000 in new annual revenues.

The council members did not discuss their votes during the meeting.

Bryan had not expressed opposition to the annexation during public meetings or the council's briefings. After the vote, he declined to say why he had voted against it.

He is the councilman who lives closest to the city's new neighborhoods and the city Council plans to add the annexation area to Bryan's district.

Goldsboro Mayor Al King said after the meeting, "Every decision I have made has not been because of any group or any personality but for what is best for the city of Goldsboro," Mayor Al King said.

The city needed the annexation to grow and strengthen its revenues, King said. "This may not have an immediate benefit, but you'll see the effects 25 years from now."

Barring a court challenge, the annexation would be effective as of Sept. 30. Many city services would begin in October, while planning would begin for the extension of sewer lines.