While I support property rights protection for all citizens - those living in the
municipalities and those living in county jurisdiction, I STAND AGAINST FORCED ANNEXATION.
On July 7, 2009, our Democrat controlled House, including our
Representative, Lorene Coates, voted to refer HB 524 and HB 1268
back to Committee in order to avoid taking any action on them. HB 524
addressed annexation reform but unlike the Senate's offering, SB494. it did
not include provisions for County approval or a vote by property owners in the affected area.
HB1268 is a proposed constitutional amendment addressing the issue
of Eminent Domain, specifically, the use of abusive condemnation.
When the Committee failed to act upon the amendment, Minority Leader
Rep. Paul Stam made a motion to recall the bills from the committee but his
motion was denied by Speaker Hackney. Rep. Stam appealed the ruling citing
House Rule 39. Voting along party lines, 62 Democrats, including
Rep. Lorene Coates, voted to sustain the ruling, effectively killing the bills
for the session.
Despite the historical grassroots movement that brought the issue to
the forefront of the state, the Democrat House voted not to act. Their intent
to kill the bill was deliberate.
Despite the fact that the people of Rowan County were the driving
force behind the movement and their voices were clearly heard,
Rep. Lorene Coates voted with her party to kill the bill.
As our Representative I will support all efforts for MEANINGFUL reform
of our laws concerning Annexation, Eminent Domain and Blight. I believe that
Annexation reform must include at least three of the following provisions:
- A vote by the people of the affected area. A simple majority
vote by the affected property owners.
- County Commission approval. As elected representatives
of the people in the affected area, a vote of approval by the
Commissioners in place of a vote by the people is an
alternative. The people still have a voice by speaking at
hearings leading up to the vote.
- A provision regarding implementation of necessary services,
establishing definite timelines. The municipality must be able
to provide at least one necessary service (police, fire, water,
sewer, or waste collection) to the annexed area. Duplication
of an existing safe, code compliant service would not
sufficiently meet this requirement.
* Municipal responsibility for infrastructure costs for city initiated annexations. In the case of voluntary annexations requested or initiated by the homeowners, the infrastructure improvement costs should be shared by the homeowners and the municipalities, as it is assumed that all stand to benefit from the annexation.
I believe that for annexation to work, it must be of benefit to all parties concerned. The city will benefit from increased tax revenue and area for growth, the residents will benefit from the provision of needed services or the substantial improvement of existing services such as water, sewer, and refuse collection, fire and police protection. The benefits to the annexed residents must represent a value to them equal to or greater than the costs that they will incur.
Additionally, we must resurrect HB1268 to address the abusive use of Eminent Domain and Blight. A clear and definitive constitutional amendment must be passed that prevents the seizure of private property from one person to be transferredto another for economic development.