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Aldermen a no-show at Southport annexation hearing

READ MORE: Southport annexation public hearing, aldermen a no-show
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SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- Folks down in Southport are not too happy about the city's annexation plans. A public hearing was held Tuesday night to discuss the plans. The Southport Aldermen voted in March to begin the process of annexing more than 400 acres surrounding the city.

Two representatives from the city's consulting firm were there to answer questions, but the aldermen were a no-show. That didn't stop folks from voicing their opinions about the board's plans.

"I just can't believe they're doing it, especially this day in age," said Jay Royal, who owns a business outside of Southport. "It's happening in the worst economic crisis since the great depression. It needs to be stopped. It needs to be stopped now."

If the proposed annexation plan happens, Royal will have to pay Southport city taxes in addition to Brunswick County taxes.

"I'm paying my bills thank the good lord," said Royal. "I don't know what tomorrow's going to bring, but when I get hit with these impact fees and everything else, the double taxation, I might be living in the woods in a tent like some other people are doing."

Ken Stewart lives in Southport, but owns a business outside the city that would be affected by the annexation. He says the city is trying to generate revenue through the annexation and is doing it unfairly.

"This is one of only four states in this country that allow involuntary annexation," said Stewart. "The entire country knows that this is wrong."

Stewart and Royal were not alone in their feelings. More than 20 people from around the area spoke out against the annexation plan at the meeting.

Stewart says a group is currently organizing lobbying efforts and grass roots organization efforts in order to stop the process.

"The only thing that makes it a good deal for the city is that the majority of the money is not their's," said Stewart. It's somebody else's. It's mine."

There will be another public hearing to discuss annexation plans in the next few months. The Board of Aldermen is expected to attend.

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Meeting

I was at the meeting and disappointed the Mayor and Aldermen were not there. I was surprised at how rude Mrs. Alexander was and the Benchmark Reps. It was clear that neither Mrs. Alexander or Benchmark cared about the concerns brought up. And their response to almost every questions was we do not make policy therefore we can not answer your question. There was no point in the meeting because they offered no insight or answers. BWT if Ms. Alexander wants order and respect she should offer the same and not interupt or mumble under her breath when people are addressing the panel.
Benchmark stated they were told to get certain properties and not get others. Does that seem fair?