Johnson City Press Friday, October 24, 2014
Opinion

Annexation bill needs more debate

March 27th, 2014 8:44 am by Johnson City Press

Annexation bill needs more debate

We have a few questions and concerns regarding the annexation bill that our local lawmakers are determined to rush to passage in the state General Assembly.
One is the cost to hold referendums on annexations. Who will pay these costs? Will it be the taxpayers of municipalities, or the residents of areas who say they should have a voice in these matters?
The bill says only registered voters who live in the affected area can vote in these referendums. But what of nonresident property owners who want to be part of the city?
Imagine you are an owner of an apartment complex and you wish to take advantage of the public works and public safety benefits of being inside the city. If you do not live inside the area targeted for annexation, you have no say regarding the future of your property. Your tenants have a vote, but you do not.
Is that fair?
There’s also been talk that the annexation bill will help protect agricultural land from forced annexation. Yet, there is no specific caveat in the legislation to do so. As the bill is currently written, a farmer opposed to annexation could still see his neighbors vote to bring his farmland into the city.
Is that fair?

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