My Turn, Your Turn: Monkey Junction annexation - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

1.27.09

My Turn, Your Turn: Monkey Junction annexation

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By Gary McNair - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - When people purchase a place to live, they generally know what they're looking for. 

Some want to be close to work, others with young kids want to be near good schools, and some prefer to get away from it all. 

But what happens to those who choose to live outside the city when annexation happens?   They'll have little say in the matter, and I don't think that's right. 

There are some people in the Monkey Junction area going through this right now.  On February 3rd the City Council is scheduled to debate annexing over 1,000 acres and adding nearly 4,000 people to their population.  If they decide to move forward, the only way the residents can fight it is take the city to court.

A legislative panel in Raleigh is recommending new legislation calling for targeted residents to be allowed to vote before cities and towns be allowed to annex.  Makes sense to me.  It is, after all, a fairness issue, and residents should have some say in the matter.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.

Response from viewers:

I sit on a Planning and Zoning Board for a small town community here in the State of North Carolina. Prior to moving to this area I lived in a south central county here in North Carolina and sat on that county's Planning and Zoning Board.

First of all, there are two types of annexation. One being voluntary and the other being involuntary. On your 6:00pm newscast on Tuesday, January 27, you stated your comment reference your negative side of the involuntary side of annexation. Your train of thought might be well taken for the community for which you speak. But for sure, you did not give both sides of the story.

Our small town needs the annexation statute to remain as it is.  We will need to annex in the future any commercial properties so that they can bear some of the tax base so that the homeowner does not bear the brunt of it all. Secondly, the town's official's were elected to see that the town and it's ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction) are taken care of to the best of their ability.

So, your one sided oration on annexation had what I call tunnel vision and not a wide screen view of what would be best for everybody and not just a few. With the economic times as they are, town's need what they can get in the way of tax dollar so the area does not become a ghost town as they did in the past. With the economic times as they are, perhaps a commentary on what people can do to help themselves survive what is transpiring in this country today.

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It would be great if there was voter input on the annexation issue. But what about all of us who were involuntarily annexed in the past several City of Wilmington "money-grabs"?

We did not get to vote, they just annex with a roll-call vote. As far as taking the City of Wilmington to court, good luck with that one. The City of Wilmington has one of the largest governmental lobby's on its side...The North Carolina League of Municipalities. Their slogan is "Supporting Excellence in Municipal Government". Yeah right. The only reason they want to annex is money, pure and simple. They can't even provide the services they promised to the last areas annexed. What makes this time any different?

The only way this will stop is at the ballot box. If enough people got behind an effort to let the elected folks in Raleigh know that "we are not going to take it anymore", maybe, just maybe, something would change. But guess what...the lobbyists   are not doing this for the municipalities out of the kindness of their hearts.

There is money and favors changing hands that would probably make all of our collective heads spin. These are the same folks that can't manage their own purse. So what makes any of us think that the elected officials in North Carolina state government would even touch this one?

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Strange how the majority of the States never had forced annexation, and some that had forced annexation have repealed it.  Approximately 8 states appear to have outright involuntary annexation provisions and lucky us, NC is one of them putting us along side Idaho and others.  When government agencies learn how to effectively (this means being fiscally responsible) provide services that people want and for a reasonable cost, planning and zoning boards will find people asking for voluntary annexation rather than fighting against it.

A comment from Barbara Hunter aptly explains it.  "Changing North Carolina's annexation laws will cost city and county taxpayers millions of extra dollars for higher bond interest rates.  On the other hand, it might introduce more fiscal responsibility when the enticement of ever-expanding revenue sources is mitigated."

Fiscal responsibility does not come into the equation when you can continue to fill the piggy bank by forced annexation.

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