The Long Beach corridor between Highway 211 and the Oak Island Bridge is a target for Oak Island annexation; at least it was prior to Tuesday night. In an abrupt turnabout, Mayor Johnnie Vereen made a proposal to drop the forced annexation. Town council member Jeff Ensminger claims he was not notified and he said the whole thing reeks of dirty politics. "You told me this would put a blue ribbon on our cap for Oak Island. Well I'm telling you now that this reeks of politics. That's all this is," said Ensminger. " I'm telling you that annexation is a good idea and I don't like dirty politics, which is what you just pulled. That's exactly what it was." After a 4-to-1 vote, forced annexation is off the table in Oak Island. The mayor explains why, "This is a way to give the people in the forced annexation areas a vote on whether they want to participate in annexation or not and I think that's important and obviously most of the council agreed with me." Mayor Vereen said this will affect 1,600 hundred people, and he challenges all the other cities and towns in the Tar Heel state to do the same. "I started the process here,” he said. “I've set the bar. It is the right thing for the right reason." Jeff Ensminger disagrees. Vereen said he does not want their neighbors to worry about the Town of Oak Island. If they want to be annexed, he said the town will welcome them with open arms.
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