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City votes about Monkey Junction annexation Tuesday night

READ MORE: City votes about Monkey Junction annexation Tuesday night
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The Monkey Junction annexation battle is heating up again, and the city of Wilmington may take the next step at tonight's meeting. Annexation will be on the agenda at Wilmington's City Council meeting Tuesday night. The agenda includes a "resolution of intent" to annex 1.6 square miles in the Monkey Junction area. This would affect an estimated 3,900 people and many businesses. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall at 102 North Third Street. Mayor Bill Saffo said, "As the elected leader of the city of Wilmington, I have to look at the vast majority of city tax payers and say, they are footing the bill." The city wants to annex a region comprised mostly of land sandwiched in between College and Carolina Beach roads. The annexation will force residents affected to pay city and county taxes. The city says county residents use city owned amenities just as much as next guy. However, some Monkey Junction residents like Ellen McKiernan aren’t in agreement. "I don't see why we should have to pay more for something like a park?" "It's like taxation without representation the areas that the city has annexed already have derived no benefits, yet you are paying twice the taxes," said Monkey Junction resident George Jones. However, there are two sides to the story. Mayor Bill Saffo explained, "The city is doing this to allow the city to grow number one, and to make sure that people who use services in our community also have to pay for them, just like everyone else who has to pay for them within the city limits." But most residents say annexing at an economic time like this is just bad timing. The city council is meeting tonight to decide whether or not to pursue annexations further. If they vote yes, they will hold multiple public hearings to gain feedback from residents and business owners who will be affected.

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STOP THE MADNESS - STOP THE ANNEXATION

My first reaction to last night's farce at the city council meeting was, "It's the same ole' same ole'." King Saffo and his merry band of idiots need to realize that they have embarked upon a long and arduous journey that does not have a guaranteed positive outcome. The change in this country has been profound over the last eight years, but what has not changed is the attitude towards government. I know people that work for the county, and I'm appalled at the comments made by the Deputy City Manager, Mr. Tony Caudle during the "snow-storm" presentation he put on for council last night. Mr. Caudle, in his explanation, stated that the city would be delivering "high-quality" services to the annexed areas. I've got news for you Mr. Caudle; the area already gets PROFESSIONAL police protection, PROFESSIONAL fire protection, and services provided by the county. Any assertion that you don't see this as a "land-grab" is a lie. You're a liar, just like the city manager, Cheatham and your mayor, King Saffo. Your comments were a slap in the face to county employees who serve those areas. You want the area because of money, plain and simple. Gene Merritt's comments don't hold water. Mr. Merritt is sore because he has to pay taxes to the city. He can afford the extra burden. Mr. Merritt needs to stick to being a developer and doing the right thing instead of screwing everybody he meets. Being on boards and giving money to charities won't get you into heaven sir. As far as the city goes, set a budget and stick to it. Don't keep screwing the city taxpayers and don't screw people who don't want to and didn't want to live in the city in the first place. As far as using the argument about charging people for their use of city facilities and city roads, try this on for size. Increase or establish fees for non-city residents for city facilities and as far as roads go, why don't you annex BRUNSWICK COUNTY AND PENDER COUNTY AND BLADEN COUNTY AND COLUMBUS COUNTY too? All their residents come to shop and do business in Wilmington. Don't they drive on the roads causing wear and tear? They do. It's not the problem of the non-residents that King Saffo and his merry band of idiots can't run their city in a financially responsible manner. Everyone in this country are feeling the effects of the downturned economy; so are cities and towns and governments. Somethings cannot be helped when it comes to sacrificing for the good of the people. Additional taxes without fair services and fair representation is not what we need for Monkey Junction. The time to stop the madness is NOW. I welcome any and all comments. Please email me @ stopmjannexation@gmail.com

Taxes

Maybe the City would consider raising the tobacco tax in lieu of annexation.

To Mr. MadMonkey

You have some valid points, and I can understand why people in the Monkey Junction area would be upset about additional taxes for things that some of them do not use. As a city resident, I feel the same way that I don't use all the county services that I'm paying for. However, I hope you are also putting just as much of your boundless energy toward contacting the local delegation and County Commissioners to provide a more equitable taxing of ALL county residents, whether they are in the city or not. The county property tax rate for City residents should be lower than for non-city residents since many of us don't use the county services. Also, since the city only gets back 20% of all sales tax revenue even though over 80% is generated within city limits, that is completely unfair. The city is supporting the county in this aspect. As long as this taxation is this unfair, you will see annexations as long as they are still legal. I'm not pro-annexation, but I am for equitable taxation.

A Reply to GuessWho

Thanks Guess Who for your comments. I can understand your position regarding county taxes and that they should be lower, especially in light of your assertion that you don't use all the county facilities. I don't have children, but my taxes fund the schools. Nothing wrong with well educated future taxpayers is it? I don't use city parks because they aren't as good as county parks or state parks. My opinion. I don't think the city police are better than the county sheriff's department. Just because Police Chief Ralph is on TV every chance he gets touting a reduced crime rate doesn't mean he or his department is better qualified to enforce the law. Numbers can be skewed and as usual, its the politicians that skew the numbers and give the "flock of sheep" whatever they want them to know. You have missed the point though about my article. This isn't about taxes. Taxes are a certain in life. This is ultimately about freedom of choice. This great country of ours guarantees certain freedoms. Namely one of those is the freedom to live where you want to (within reason of course. I want to live in the White House, but there is a current occupant. Alas, I'll just have to wait.) The government should not unfairly and unjustly take what is not rightfully theirs just because a law allows them to do so. To your point regarding that if the law exists, then cities will keep annexing. What should be the prudent and responsible thing to do is live within your means and worry about providing services to those who already reside within your city rather than growing your borders for the benefit of raising money. Look into the future and imagine a time when Wilmington might grow all the way to Snow's Cut or to the Pender County line, or north into Pender County. What happens then? When is it enough? How can a city, a mayor, a city manager, and a deputy city manager know what is best for an area in terms of "city-services" if they don't reside in the area and don't function as a part of that community. They want to bring Monkey Junction into the "fold" because they want the money, plain and simple. As far as any opinion of yours regarding the county commission and the quote "unfair" taxing by the county, may I remind you that New Hanover County existed before Wilmington. Taxing within this county was done before and during the Colonial times for the purpose of funding the British aristocracy and associated governance by the British crown. Once the British were thrown out after the Revolutionary War, the taxes remained. They are here today, and in so much as people don't want them, it's a fact of life. Sadly additional taxes on persons and businesses in this effected area will cause many businesses to falter. The excuse of getting "high-quality" services in return for those taxes is a smoke-screen. It's all about growing the city and furthering the careers of the politicians who don't represent THE PEOPLE to begin with. It's about representing the special interests and the developers, and the wealthy. They really don't care about the people and that's what wrong with this country. As far as your opinion about any energies expended in this endeavor towards this issue, I will certainly not be expended towards county government or the issue of county taxes. On the contrary, the county government isn't the problem, except for Mr. Jason Thompson, who is a "County Commissioner of the City of Wilmington". He hasn't forgotten about all his promises to his city constituents. Any assertion that he is going to clean house in county government is bull-headed and just plain wrong. Look at what he has accomplished as a director on the board of the Cape Public Utility Authority; absolutely nothing. Just like the city council; nothing. The only person on the city council that I can even half-way respect is that of Kristie Tomey; she at least had the guts not to be a "sheep" and follow the flock. That shows her ability to consider what a short-sided move this is to annex an area during a bad-economy. Again thank you for your reply and for your position on lowering County Taxes for city residents. I can agree with you, but I won't be fighting that, because that doesn't concern me. The courts will ultimately decide what will happen if the Legislature doesn't decide it first.

MonkeyMadness

Again, you have valid points. And again, I'm not pro-annexation. I'm not quite sure what the city's reasons are, because after looking at what data I could see, it appears that the city would actually be losing money on annexing. I personally would prefer NOT to annex for that reason alone, because once again, this would rest on the backs of the taxpayers. By the way, Jason Thompson is definitely against annexation. At least he was when he was a City Councilman. But I totally agree with you about the CFPUA - it's been almost a year and they still don't have their act together. I've also seen some preliminary numbers on how much it will cost MJ residents to connect to the water & sewer, if they aren't already, and that figure is disgustingly huge. You seem like a very level headed and relatively open-minded person, if not at least sympathetic to the plight of others -- I just hope this whole annexation thing isn't going to pit the city against the county anymore than it already has. In my mind, we ALL need to work together for a better, more improved area in which to live, grow and work, whether a city resident or county resident. I just am thinking that there are alternatives that can make everyone happy, like giving the city their fair share of the sales tax revenue. Then annexation would be a non-issue.

Once again, i will say that

Once again, i will say that there is no sound argument for annexation. As a county resident, there is nothing that I use provided by the city. Roads? I would gladly love a bypass built so I never had to go into the city. I don't go to the park. I have trash, water, and sheriff and fire and rescue. I don't use municipal golf course as you can never get on it. I don't shop at the mall and I don't have to use the hospital as pender memorial is closer to where I live anyway. So, I ask you and other city residents, Mr. Saffo, what is the advantage of my being annexed? As for the city resdients paying more taxes for stuff you don't use, that's your fault. You voted in the city leaders, not me. Believe me if myself and other county residents could vote for city leaders, the same ones would not be in office. But we can't. So if you hate paying higher city taxes, YOU take it up with YOUR elected officials.