Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sen. David Hoyle says he thinks the Senate will vote on a budget next week. That gives conference less than two weeks before the June 30th deadline. Can they do it? They are pretty darn pushy about getting it done by that date and get home but that's not a lot of time either.

In the meantime, involuntary annexation opponenets got a small victory today but still face an uphill battle. Here's the script from my story...

RALEIGH -- A legislative committee approved a one year ban on involuntary annexations today.

Involuntary annexation is when a town or city forces outlying residents to become city residents. One by one opponents of involuntary annexation pleaded their case to lawmakers.

"I got involved in annexation after the mayor of selma decided that he needed to fix the town,' Tony Terrington from Johnston County said. "He had a very unlawful annexation and i was successful in fighting it."

With involuntary annexation, the new residents must pay taxes but get city services like water, transportation and police. City leaders across the state say annexation is necessary as town and cities grow, but homeowners often say they already have those services and don't want to pay more taxes.

"Our community is a gated, private community," Moore County resident Doug Aitken said. "We have every single service the law talks about."

Thursday the House Finance Committee approved a one year ban on forced annexations to study the law.

"There are some problems with the law," Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham) said. "It's 49 years old and there have been some excesses and we have some good suggestions that we have talked about in our committee."

Cities and towns are against the moratorium but agree some changes to the law are necessary.

"I think the issue that probably has to be looked at is water and sewer," Andy Romanet from the League of Municipalities said.

Opponents are hoping lawmakers would require a vote by residents for all annexations. They also want more supervision of cities trying to annex new residents.

The bill must still pass another House committee then a full vote on the House floor. It then heads to the Senate where leaders are reportedly not likely to hear the bill.

North Carolina is one of just five states that allow involuntary annexations.

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