Saffo: Senate votes against annexation ‘unfortunate, unfair’

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Submitted: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 8:58pm
Updated: Sat, 05/19/2012 - 11:52pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After the state Senate voted to stop forced annexation, we wanted to hear from Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo about the city’s plan. Today we finally tracked him down.

“If this is the new law of the day for the State of North Carolina, we’ll follow that law,” Saffo said. “If they change the law next year, we’ll follow that law. If they change the law next year, we’ll follow that law.”

Votes Thursday by the North Carolina Senate pushed forward a repeal of the annexation of Monkey Junction, and put annexation in the hands of voters.

The moves come after Wilmington and other cities sued the General Assembly over annexation. Saffo said while the Senate’s decision was expected, he also believes it’s unfortunate and unfair.

“The County of New Hanover in 2002 sued the State of North Carolina and sued the legislature in 2002, and they were never retaliated against,” he said. “I just think it’s just a new day in the State of North Carolina. If you take on the state legislature, there’s a very good chance that something like this could happen to you.”

If the bills pass, Monkey Junction will no longer receive city services. It’s a decision Saffo believes limits growth, but he thinks the city could still grow in other areas.

Saffo said the potential tax base loss will not impact the city’s decision to fund the ballpark.

“That has nothing to do with it,” Saffo said. “The issue in respect to the ballpark is if it’s a good deal for the city and a good deal for the developers that are bringing this ballpark forward. If it’s a good deal, then we can move forward with it. If it’s not a good deal, then we are not going to move forward with it.”

Another big blow to annexation in the bills is that, if passed, the city will have to wait another 12 years before trying to annex Monkey Junction again.


  • Guest CommonTater says:

    Time for that sedative eh saffo? LMAO!!!

  • Guest33 says:

    I am sure the people of Monkey Junction are not going really miss the sorry services this city offers for that extra taxation. But I suspect you folks in the city circle of thieves are going to miss that chance to laugh all the to way to the bank thing.

  • Guest234567 says:

    It’s also unfair to the people who are FORCED, with no voice, to pay higher taxes. You cannot sit here and claim it hinders growth. What happens when you get to the county line? Are you going to start annexing Pender and Brunswick county? No!

    You tried to annex an area where the majority of residents already had sewer, water, police, and fire, and try to claim you are bringing all these new things, when in reality you aren’t. People are not stupid, and do not take kindly to being forced into the city.

  • guesty says:

    The property owners voted with a resounding NO to annexation by the city but you forced it anyway. Now you want to whine about some made up “unfair” ruling?

    People currently in the city limits, remember this next election that your elected officials don’t listen to you. Don’t re-elect anybody.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    If anything is unfair, Herr Saffo, it’s Wilmington’s Nazi-like approach to seizing what it wants. Let’s hope the bills pass, before we have to list Monkey Juntion with the Polish Corridor and the Sudetenland.

  • Guest5654 says:

    Everyone should know by this point that nothing is going to stop the ballpark. Just like nothing was going to stop the stupid convention center. How about city employees getting a raise or cost of living adjustment for the first time in 4 years? It better not change that.

  • MJPatriot says:

    Unfair? A majority votes and says “NO”. Just like our democratic system provides. We have to take to to the State Congress and they say “NO”. You try to force it down our throat anyway…. Now who’s playing the fair game? Get a grip Wilmington and elect somebody with some sense.

  • Robert Green says:

    It is unfortunate and unfair that we have a mayor that blatantly disregards sincere public input and has used heavy handed tactics in his immoral land grabs.The political reality is that FORTUNATELY there has been a change in the political climate in Raleigh after 100 years of corrupt Democratic rule.They see that the FAIR thing to do is let the people decide their fate.What a novel idea.You can not continue to balance the books on the backs of the people.Your pet projects(i.e convention center and proposed ballpark) will do nothing but burden the community.Even though room occupancy tax covers the convention center expenses, what happens when a severe hurricane strikes our region?You are not even good at providing core government services and sound infrastructure.You continue to shop around with the people’s money foolishly, on a beer budget with champagne taste.The City of Wilmington has a serious case of “Little Man Syndrome” and a delusional viewpoint that we are a unique area that can defy economic realities. I know the outside influences whisper in your ear.It is clear where your allegiances lie and it is not with the people.The only thing I see you are good at is looking good in your suits crowning soap opera queens and glad handing second rate, washed up celebrities at the Mayberry Festival.

    Thanks to Senator Thom Goolsby for promoting legislation that looks out for the general welfare of it’s citizens from a hostile encroachment of incompetent, jock strap sniffing bozos , who could hardly comprehend a balance sheet.

  • Guest 194 says:

    For the record, when the original developers of Landfall (Goforths) began development of this fine neighborhood, Mr. Goforth struck a deal with the city that if they (the city) would provide water and sewer, he would voluntarily come into the city. The city ran the lines and provided the services, however, the residents did not want to “voluntarily” go into the city but wanted to receive water and sewer for free. Therefore, it was a choice the city had to make of annexing or turning the spigott off and letting the residents go buy their water in gallon jugs.

  • Sam G says:

    I know! People want to live outside the city, receive all the benefits of city dwelling, but not pay for it!

  • Guest05212012 says:

    .. maybe then there would have been enough city voters to get Saffo out of the mayor’s office.. he’s just a little too smooth to be credible.

  • Guest28403 says:

    Somebody took away his PACman game where he gobbles up NHC bit by bit to fund his insatiable thirst to spend nonstop. This is your wake up call Bill your cut off you can’t keep stealing land and force people to live in the city when they have zero to gain from it. NHC has plenty of public safety. CFPUA already mostly serves those outside the city also. Your comments are pathetic and sound like a little kid having a temper tantrum because somebody slapped your hand and said NO

  • GuestKen says:

    Mr. Saffo, it is a good thing about our society when we all have a vote on who to put in office to represent us as citizens. These people that represent us do not always vote to the satisfaction of everyone they represent. I happen to think a city should vote to accept or reject annexation of a section the county, but only after that section of the county has voted in the majority to request annexation.

  • GuestOccasional says:

    Mr. Mayor:

    Our State Legislature didn’t retaliate against you or your wishes. The people made up their minds that they, just as the citizens and residents of 46 other states in this Union that forced annexation is unfair.

    The people followed correct process and procedure by electing legislators who were sensitive to their desire to end forced annexation. These elected legislators fulfilled their obligation and passed laws to end the practice.

    It was you, Mr. Mayor, who engaged in retaliatory actions. You sued and for a short time won. Why didn’t you acquiesce when the first law requiring petitions passed?

    The people had every right to seek further redress in the legislature and did so. What is it that inspires you to insult the people and demean a fine example of our legislative process at work?

    Mr. Mayor, unfortunate and unfair is more appropriately what happened to the folks who WERE annexed against their will. Sorry you are upset that the people finally got the traction to put this sordid process away.

    Why don’t you graciously concede defeat in this and move on to make something desirable happen in Wilmington and do it within a reasonable budget?

  • Truthseeker says:

    Saffo when are you going to realize people do not want in the city limits. I was part of the Landfall area annexation and have not received one benefit that we did not already have. You want to grow your power base by as Senator Goolsby stated illegally and unconstitutionally forcing higher taxes on citizens for no benefit. I want out of the city and looking. Your intention to force city residents to pay for a baseball park was the last straw. Oleander Road is a bumpy, pot holed congested embarrassment, fix it. The 2 million bond approved for traffic lights has not changed one thing. How can one travel Eastwood to MLK and catch every traffic light? Did you notice what happen to Jason Thompson? Well your day is coming. Citizens are tired of politicians like you forcing your ineptness and greed on them at their expense. Bye and you take your crummy roads, congested traffic, and your ignorance with you!

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    Cry me a handful saffo…..

  • joe T. says:

    Why is it that the politicians always want growth when this is just a ponzi scam? The current residents are taxed to the max to pay for infrastructure improvements to support growth and it becomes a never ending tax increase as more residents move in and burden the infrastructure with their presence.

    I very much liked Eastwood Road when the speed limit was 55 and Oleander when it was 45 (sure some older residents can remember that was 55 years before my time) and when College Road wasn’t one continuous strip mall. River Road and lands south of town are well on their way to ruin by development and I just don’t see how “Growth” is a positive option at this stage of Wilmington’s existence.

    If I had my way, my political platform would be to take care of the citizens we have now and not put “Growth” ahead of the stakeholders in Wilmington.

    Has anyone considered a limit on building permits and perhaps even a lottery? If you limited development, then the existing homes would increase in value considerably. Sure builder’s love to throw up homes however taking care of the existing homes and properties will keep Home Depot and Lowes around for a long long time.

  • Guest1966 says:

    Don’t worry Bill Saffo, you still got that connvention center to fall back on, it will save the city!

  • Go Home Saffo says:

    “Unfortunate and unfair”…to who? The people of MJ turned in the petitions and said boldly “NO”.

    How hard is it not to understand we want nothing to do with the city? We want no part of a raise in our property taxes that has been proposed just two weeks ago in order for the city to be budget neutral. This property tax rate increase was proposed just a couple days after the push by the city to meet the 60 day rule. How convenient? This was a money grab.

    Take your medicine Saffo!

  • Guest2020 says:

    Ruling against annexation is not unfair for the citizens of North Carolina. Forced annexation is taxation without representation and the North Carolina Senate got it right. I hope the House does the same.

    “The issue in respect to the ballpark is if it’s a good deal for the city and a good deal for the developers that are bringing this ballpark forward. If it’s a good deal, then we can move forward with it. If it’s not a good deal, then we are not going to move forward with it.”

    The developers are key in this. They are the ones who benefit the most from this project.

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