09/06/06 — County asks state to take a look at annexation rules

View Archive

County asks state to take a look at annexation rules

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on September 6, 2006 1:46 PM

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday asking legislators to form a commission to study involuntary and satellite annexations by municipalities and their effect on local governments and taxpayers.

Commissioner Efton Sager drafted the resolution and told board members that involuntary annexations by cities and towns have become a burden for taxpayers because residents are forced to pay both city and county property taxes.

"We must stand up for the people that elected us," Sager said during Tuesday's briefing session.

Commissioner Jack Best disagreed with Sager's proposal to include the motion on Tuesday's agenda.

"The city of Goldsboro, who we partner with on a lot of things, are in the midst of a lawsuit," Best said. "It's not a good time to take sides. It gives fuel to the fire of the opponents of the annexation. Until the city resolves this, we can't get into the middle of a fight."

Best was referring to an involuntary annexation Goldsboro officials have been trying to complete for two years. The Goldsboro City Council approved an annexation ordinance to involuntarily annex the neighborhoods near Buck Swamp and Salem Church roads in 2004. The neighbors have fought back through several court trials and are currently deciding whether to carry their case to the state Supreme Court.

North Carolina law permits municipalities to annex land, even if the residents don't want to be included in the city, if certain criteria are met. North Carolina is one of the few states in the nation that have such involuntary annexation laws on the books.

Best said adopting the resolution would create a perception that commissioner are choosing sides in the Goldsboro annexation issue.

Commissioners J.D. Evans, Andy Anderson, Bud Gray and Sager voted for the motion and commissioners Atlas Price, John Bell and Best voting against it.

During the commissioners' meeting, County Manager Lee Smith said other county governments have asked for the state to form a commission to study the issue.

Sager's resolution stated that Wayne County has no control over the state's annexation laws, but a study could determine the impact of future annexations on the budgets of municipalities, county governments and taxpayers.

Commissioners Price, Bell and Best voted in opposition to a state study on involuntary and satellite annexations, but Evans, Gray, Anderson and Sager contributed to the majority vote.

"We should have the courage of our convictions to stand up for what we believe in," Sager said.