02/09/09 — City will wait on state for ruling on annexing

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City will wait on state for ruling on annexing

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on February 9, 2009 1:46 PM

Goldsboro Mayor Al King and Mayor Pro-tem Chuck Allen say they will hold off on any involuntary annexation until the state legislature decides its next move on the subject.

Currently, the legislature is looking at allowing citizens to vote on whether or not they want to be annexed into city limits.

And although they believe the idea is a bad one, King and Allen say there are some adjustments that need to be made to the legislation.

"I do think there needs to be more public input, maybe by holding more public meetings, but allowing them to vote would in effect kill annexation because they're not going to vote to be annexed," Allen said. "But I think the legislature really needs to look into the law. It's a 50-year old law. Things need to be changed."

He and the mayor agree that there have been many "bad" annexations in the state in the past, that excluded individuals based on their wealth or color and where cities didn't provide services to an annexed area when they should have.

"There have been the shoestring annexations that I don't agree with, and there have been areas that have been deliberately omitted from annexation because of the location or what have you," King said. "These type things I don't think should be allowed to happen. And there have been some annexation agencies that haven't fulfilled requirements of the law."

The law definitely needs to be tweaked, he said.

"You shouldn't just, without reason, bypass areas and jump over and refuse to annex areas because of expense, or what have you, because of who it serves," the mayor said.

Annexation is what makes North Carolina great, he added, and many people who oppose annexation don't realize that they are going to benefit.

"I'm often asked, 'Why can't we get a Red Lobster or Olive Garden or Home Depot?' Businesses come where there is a potential for them to be successful, and they look at population. That's what drives them," King said.

And until the city grows in population and can convince businesses that this is an area worth looking at, those businesses won't come to Goldsboro.

"There will be benefits, even though they will have to pay a little more (in city taxes)," he said.

The city needs to be able to annex, or it won't grow, the mayor said.

Allen said he knows how those who might be annexed feel, but says councilmen have to make some hard decisions.

"There are two sides to this, and it's our job to look at what is best for the city as a whole," Allen said. "That's annexation."

The City Council decided last week to hold off on Phase 12 annexation because of the current economic crisis and because of the pending discussion in the legislature.

"We're just going to wait and see," Allen said.

Still, there is only so much that cities can do when it comes to annexation, he said.

"We let (the residents to be annexed) know about it, give them more than a year, hold public hearings," Allen said. "There is really not much more we can do."