Senate votes deal big blow to forced annexation
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Forced annexation took a hit today in the North Carolina Senate. One bill repealed the annexation of Monkey Junction. Another puts annexation in the hands of voters.

"it was just plain wrong," Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-9th District) said. "It was taxation without representation, and I was glad to take a stand against it and always will."

Gooslby and the rest of the Senate took a big step battling annexation Thursday passing House Bill 925. If passed by the House, it would stop forced annexation and give residents who live in an area up for annexation a chance to vote on it.

"I think there will be a compromise between the House and the Senate," Rep. Danny McComas (R-19th District) said. "We'll find a middle ground, and we'll be able to do the reform that is necessary for the betterment of our state."

The second bill deals with the deannexation of Monkey Junction. It essentially wipes the slate clean and places Monkey Junction back in unincorporated New Hanover County. It would also keep Wilmington from trying to annex Monkey Junction for 12 years.

While Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) is for some type of annexation reform, she takes serious issue with the deannexation bill.

"The city followed a lawful process, and now that time and those city taxpayer dollars have been wasted," Hamilton said.

She's also worried about distributing sales taxes. The county gets a lion's share of that revenue, which has been balanced out by the city's ability to annex and get property taxes.

"If that's no longer the case, cities are gonna have to look at other revenue options, and the first place we're gonna look is at sales tax revenue," she said.

These bills now move on to the House for a vote.

We tried to contact Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo for reaction. We called his cell phone four times, but his mailbox was full. We called his assistant three time and only got a voicemail. The mayor has not called back.

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I, for one, am glad the forced annexation is up for a vote. I think a city has every right to grow, just as much as an individual has a right to expand their own business.

I do, however, take issue with the duplication of services...such as, fire departments, law enforcement, water and sewer services, trash collection, parks and rec and so on. It would appear that a consolidated government would be more favorable than forced annexation would be.

Since the residents of Monkey Junction area do not want forced annexation, then they should have no problem taking on section 8 housing developments or sheltering the less desirables next door, considering the price of housing will be more accomodating to those who are a little less wealthy, right?

I think the city of Wilmington should privledge tax or special use tax every conceivable idea, leaving no stone unturned, to balance out what they will loose with the loss of Monkey Junction land area. maybe they should consider making all major roadways and bridges in Wilmington, toll worthy. Hmmmm?

... does NHC really even need Wilmington anymore? We know that Wilmington needs to gobble up as much of NHC as it can. The heavy handed and arrogant way they've handled annexations reflects their desperation. Why else would they go so far as to alienate NHC by allowing a developer in NHC to annex his property to the city just so he could circumvent NHC zoning? Annexation has become the triage of choice to stop its bleeding.

NHC residents get all of the basic services they need from the county. And they get these services without paying additional taxes. They don't have to deal with a downtown full of bars and increased crime. They don't have to deal with a city government that's trying to spend its way to prosperity even if they don't have the funds to accomplish that. That's one of the reasons Wilmington's so desperate to annex additional property.

The only way to really stop the bleeding is to have responsible city leadership. Leaders who respond to their constituents instead of their cronies. Leaders who look for intelligent creative ways to balance their budget instead of being distracted by the latest, shiny, toy-de-jour. Maybe that will happen, maybe not. Currently it looks more like maybe not.

Perhaps the concept of the continual growth of the small city has seen its day. At the very least, it looks like the concept of forced annexation has been brought to a screeching halt.

From the story: "She's also worried about distributing sales taxes. The county gets a lion's share of that revenue, which has been balanced out by the city's ability to annex and get property taxes."

Then take issue with how the sales tax money is given out. Don't take issue that as taxpayers we don't want yet another tax bill.

Rep. Hamilton says: "The city followed a lawful process, and now that time and those city taxpayer dollars have been wasted,"

In business and home life, we are confronted with the continuing need to make financially beneficial decisions. What's happened here is that the people have achieved the political will to end the practice of forced annexation.

Unfortunately, the hours and dollars spent on the MJ annexation are going to be lost, lost forever. This loss is not to be blamed on the taxpayers who have exercised their constitutional right to demand change. To blame beleagured taxpayers is at arrogant, crass and cynical.

The political interests in favor of continuing forced annexation have yet to wake up to the simple fact that they lost; they failed to recognize the change in voter sentiment that this so called "lawful" process is not only in violation of constitutional principles, it also violates principles of decency.

Sincere thanks to Sen. Goolsby for representing the interests of the taxpayers on this issue!

Prior to the attempt to sieze the valuable property in MJ, the process was rigged in favor of City Hall. I guess that this just isn't so anymore.

In the years that this debate has gone on, not a single advocate of annexation has been able to provide proof of any benefit for the taxpayers subject to involuntary political seizure.

It's a shame Wilmington once again gets such bad publicity in this. But, it is great for the residents that the powers that be just got their collective hands slapped.

I love this comment ""It was taxation without representation, and I was glad to take a stand against it and always will." the state has been doing this for years.

City Leaders, listen you. Maybe, we need to have a city income tax on people that work in the city.. Also, we need to start charging people that don't live in the city for the services they use. How about if they are in a wreck they pay for the police and fire services they use.

Maybe those who don't live within the city limits should just refrain from doing business within city limits. Then we will see how long the city thrives.

Set up a fee for using fire and police. Maybe then the city can quit crying about all these services that county residents are supposedly using. Just remember it's your only argument. Do you really want to take that away?

Look on the bright side though, you always have developers that need to buy a re-zoning. So at least your city can grow one parcel at a time that way.

instead of talking about how the city will need to find otherways to raise the funds to spend how about a thought.. Quit bloody well spending our tax dollars like they are your personal Visa Charge card. Dont forget you just like others are accountable to the voters and we can fire you just as easily as we did others in the primary election.. Times are tough we the people have been forced to look at our budgets and figure out ways to save money and spend less.. Its time you tax and spend liberals like you learn the same lesson. (If you dont learn it quickly you will be without a job come November like many others)

But the forced annexation issue is a problem that strikes across the state and has for year. So quickly we forget the fast moves and sneaky underhanded tactics attempted by Southport to annex areas of Brunswick near the town. If the people wanted to live in town limits that would have been their own choice. This has ramifications statewide to put a clamp finally on these power hungry (aka Tax and money hungry) towns and cities gobbling up space to get more revenue.. It has very little if anything to do with allowing or bringing public access to utilities such as water and sewer. Some are worse then others. When I lived out inthe Mtns my ex and I lived in what was known as the ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction) of the town of Boone NC (home of App State) what did we get for this honor.. Access to town water and sewer.. generally double taxatation. We couldnt vote in town elections so we were left with having to wait for an impotent wonder of the county board and the constant issues of the non-resident students who technically lived in the town being allowed to influence local politics to the point as the obscure election laws were allowing students who legally werent residents to vote in local and state elections.

To summarize these towns and what not need to learn to live within their means and stop looking at the pacman mentality to bail them out for tax dollars.. We the people have to live within our means baring an emergency (and most dont have a crisis or emergent funding which ends up leading to suddenly maxed out credit card. We the people who these clowns on these city councils work for US not the other way around and I think too many people have forgotten. They answer to us and its time we start holding them accountable for their actions or lack there of PERIOD. To me doesnt matter what letter is next tot their name, If they refuse to be accountable to their bosses (we the people) then we need to start firing this yokel

The State Legislature should be commended (so far) for taking the bold steps to reign-in money grubbing local governments like that of Wilmington. The notion that the quality of life, and the quality of the city will suffer without the added tax revenues supplied by the MJ residents is misguided and misleading. Those who would continue to espouse the "virtues" of forced-annexation are the same people who are the local elected officials in Wilmington and elsewhere who claim to know what's best for their community and all the while making money off of their own ventures; the lawyers, realtors, and developers. Poor policies and the inability to curb spending lead to poor-planning, and even worse execution in public-management. Examples are the convention center (which is still in the red) and the future King Saffo Baseball Stadium. To the taxpayers living inside the city who feel slighted by the actions of state government and have railed against those seeking to remain FREE of government-occupation....sorry. This isn't gloating; it's vindication for years of political and economic abuse at the hands of those who constantly tout their desire for a better city which makes them look good while doing so at the behest of people who elected them. Please also don't say that this will generate further fees for county residents. The New Hanover County Parks Department has wonderful facilities; why would I want to go to a city park? As for the notion that county residents drive on city streets; yes we do. Do I fund your street projects? Yes we do via sales and gas taxes. Maybe those in the city who are dead-set against remaining free would like for LOCAL, NON-city residents to stop shopping inside the city and go elsewhere....or why doesn't the city just go ahead and kill the economy more and charge fees to the visitors and tourists? There's your new and improved revenue stream. The notion that the Legislature is doing this as a punitive measure is wrong; this action is correct and legal. What is a shame? The city wasting hundreds of thousands of tax dollars on a losing proposition....THANKS WILMINGTON.....AND MR. MAYOR. We took care of it before and we'll do it again. BTW...I'll help you take your city-limit signs down....VIVA New Hanover County....Take a Hike Saffo and Cronies!

Hopefully the House will do the right thing as well.

Maybe the city should just stop spending what they don't have...

Hey, Mr. Mayor and City Council... there's an idea...

Looks like this my slow down SAFFO'S empire building on the backs of the AMERICAN PRIVATE taxpayers.If you own or rent in WILMINGTON it going to cost you more just so some can play in their field of dreams and party with the studio buds.The county residents are already on the hook for the CFPUA creation.Remember the R3 deal look at what the ballpark deal is all about.Taxpayers paying for private-bud's enterprises,cfpua,R3,now ballpark.There is and where x-city and county employes involved in all these dealings.From your pay check to their pockets.

A setback for this arrogant city government, who does not see the need to sincerely seek public input on any issue.The reason this is so is because they only respond to the Kingmakers in our community, not their constituents.Forced annexation is desired by this liberal body because they can balance their books on the backs of the taxpayers.The liabilities they have hung around the necks of taxpayers is unconscionable.You can run from the financial realities but it will eventually catch you!

The tyrants need to be voted out. They constantly show their collective disdain for the voters and quit speaking for them long ago. Stop voting them in folks. STOP!!!

Guest CommonTater.... I fully agree with you! Would anyone know whether or not there is a mechanism in NC statutes which allows for the recall of city officials?

From what I can gather through a quick internet search, and it is certainly not an exhaustive search, there is no North Carolina General Statute that outlines the procedure that does this. There is something in North Carolina's common law that allows for an elected official to be removed for misconduct or lack of fitness to perform his duties.

I like many others, am against Forced Annexation. I purchased my home some 25 years ago and at that time , I chose to live outside of the city limits, if I had wanted to live in the city ,I would have purchased a home in the city. There is nothing that the City of Wilmington can offer us , that we don't already have , other than higher taxes.The city's mayor & council have screwed everything up so bad , that they want more people to pay for their mistakes. Get them all out of office before we go down with them.

It's the buisnesses that the city is after. NOT the homeowners!! Too bad that there just happens to be homeowners in this area.