General Assembly should leave annexation laws alone

Johnson City Press • Dec 19, 2013 at 3:20 PM

The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations will ask the state General Assembly to extend a statewide moratorium on annexations initiated by cities and towns next year so the panel can formulate its recommendations for possible changes to Tennessee’s annexation laws. We urge state lawmakers not to do that. Frankly, we think enough time and state dollars have already been wasted on this non-issue. It’s equally important to note that extending the moratorium on annexations will serve no other purpose than to hurt local governments.As Press staff writer Gary B. Gray reported in Wednesday’s newspaper, Johnson City Manager Pete Peterson and Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge fear proposed changes to the existing annexation law will result in tying the hands of local governments when it comes to resolving growth issues among themselves.As we’ve noted before, annexation is an important issue to all Washington Countians — regardless of where they live — be it in municipalities like Johnson City or Jonesborough, or in communities like Gray, Lamar, South Central, Limestone or Fall Branch.Limiting a city’s power of annexation hamstrings its ability to grow its tax base, thereby placing an additional burden on its current property taxpayers. Likewise, unchecked growth in an unannexed area detracts from the very qualities that once made that community so desirable to live in.

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