City closer to starting annexation

Published 2:40 am Tuesday, February 10, 2009

By Staff
Council identifies four areas that are being considered
Contributing Editor
The Washington City Council unanimously adopted a resolution Monday that identifies four nearby areas the city may want to annex.
The four are:
Municipalities have two options for initiating the involuntary annexation process. The city chose the option that is initiated by a resolution of consideration, which identifies the area(s) under consideration for annexation. That resolution is followed by a resolution of intent to annex the area(s) identified. At least one year must pass between adoption of the resolution of consideration and adoption of the resolution of intent.
The city’s resolution of consideration is good for two years, according to John Rodman, a city planner.
Under the second option, the annexation process is started by the municipality’s adoption of a resolution of intent to annex.
Adopting the resolution of consideration does not obligate the city to annex areas it has identified for annexation, Rodman said.
The state’s annexation laws do not require the city, after it adopts a resolution of consideration, to notify residents and property owners in the areas earmarked for annexation.
Rodman reminded the council that the N.C. General Assembly has a committee reviewing the state’s annexation laws, possibly resulting in modifications of those laws. Those modifications could be unfavorable to the city, he said.
Last year during its annual planning session, the council made it clear it considers annexation a way to grow the city and its tax base. At other meetings last year, council members indicated their desire to get serious about annexation. If the four areas identified in the resolution are annexed, that would add about $16 million to the city’s tax base, Rodman said.
Before committing to annexation, city officials want to know if it’s feasible.
Annexed areas must be provided certain city services within a specific period of time after they have been annexed. The cost of providing those services may be more than the city can afford, thereby either delaying annexation until it’s feasible or killing annexation plans altogether.
Forced annexation should happen only if benefits the city would derive from annexation outweigh expenses — such as providing fire and police protection, water and sewer service — associated with annexation, according to council members.
By increasing the city’s population past the 10,000-person mark, according to Jennings and Mayor Pro Tempore Doug Mercer, the city becomes eligible for more grants and revenue opportunities not available to municipalities with populations less than 10,000 people.