Wilm. City Council approves Monkey Junction annexation

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington city council voted six to one in favor of the Monkey Junction annexation during Tuesday night's meeting.

The ordinance almost didn't pass as council member Kristy Tomey has voiced her disapproval of the plans for months.

"Unfortunately, I think that I am absolutely the only one on this council who is voting no on this item," said Tomey.

But, Tomey reluctantly decided to vote "yes" to end the debate.

"I don't believe that holding it over for a second vote is going to give me time to change anyone's mind," said Tomey.

Council members say that even in the tough economy, annexation is what's best for the city.

"Nobody really likes paying higher taxes," said council member Laura Padgett.  "I don't, and I understand that this can be a real hardship to many people, but I would say that there are many people in the city who are under the same hardship and have been paying city taxes for a long time."

City officials will bring about 950 acres of land into the city limits, along with about 3,300 current residents of New Hanover County.

The annexation will take effect in June 2010, and residents will have to get used to some new rules.

The newest Wilmington residents will have to follow the city code regarding where boats and RV's can be parked.  The code states recreational vehicles must be kept in a rear yard.

"For us we're commercial so it doesn't bother us as much," said Patrice Kaizer who could be getting annexed.  "I do feel bad for people who'll have to store boats or jet skis in a storage unit or something."

In addition, annexed residents will be required to have trash collection service.

Also during the meeting, city council members discussed ways to make up for a $6 million shortfall in the budget.

Friday, city staffers gave council members a copy of a proposed budget that included several cuts and recommendations.

WECT has been told the city will not fill 36 vacant job openings, and the proposed budget may also affect city employee's 401k plans.

Other things are being sacrificed in effort to prevent current employees from being laid off.

City council members will have at least one public hearing before they approve a final budget.

©2009 WECT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.