Reported by: Webb Wright
“I thought this would be the simplest, easiest bill that I’ve every filed.” That’s House Bill 475, which state representative Mike Carter says is not against annexation, but for the people’s right to vote.
“47 states in the nation soon to be Tennessee being the only state in the nation that allows people’s property to be taken without a vote. We are one of the three non referendum states left in America. There have been four referendum on annexation across the state over the past three years, three have been successful by wide margins. Only one failed. “
Some local organizations say, city governments have too much power under the current system.
“As a city wanting to expand their borders through the urban growth boundry, they don’t have to vote, they can just take over the land and the residents are stuck with it,” says Chris Matthews with Right to Vote TN.
A similar version of the bill currently in the Senate would put an 18 month moratorium on any annexation in the state of Tennessee.
Carter says he would amend his bill to add that if asked, but says he just looking to put the power in the voters hands.
“This bill only requires the public to approve what their officials are doing. When the city comes to you and they incorporate you, they double your regulation, most of the time they double your taxes, they bring the debt of that entity on to your private property and they have to stand good for it. A person who is about to have that to be done to should have a right to vote.”
Carter says he wants those who favor annexation to take their case to the people.
“They don’t have to sell me on annexation, they have to sell the people that are going to have to vote on it.”
Carter hopes to present his bill to the House finance committee for a vote on Tuesday. The senate version of the bill with the moratorium is expected to the senate floor next week.
The house version is expected to go for a vote on the house floor the following week.
Hamilton County, Tennessee
(Chattanooga and surrounding areas)
Hamilton County commissioners unanimously support Tennessee State House Bill 475 and Senate Bill 279 and the citizens “Right to Vote” on annexation. The commission created a resolution on this right in Hamilton County. To hear transcript of commission meeting click link below (minutes not published yet).
(Right To Vote is index 0:59 -Mark West)
- Bradley County officials back law on annexation vote (right2votetn.org)
- Tennessee Right2vote Coalition Forms to Support House Bill 475 (right2votetn.org)
- The Freeloaders of Hamilton County, Tennessee (patheos.com)
by Paul Leach
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County officials would like to see changes in state law to require any annexation be approved in a referendum vote by a majority of residents of the affected area.
Earlier this week, the county commission voted 13-0 on a resolution in support of proposed state legislation that would require referendum votes for any annexations. The change would eliminate the current option of processing an annexation through passage of ordinances, according to House Bill 230 and Senate Bill 731.
“[Tennessee is] one of only three states that do not do this as of now,” said Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones, a developer who was elected to the county commission last August.
“I think people should always have some input in what’s happening to property they own,” said Commissioner Terry Caywood, who asked that state legislators seriously consider similar sentiments from other counties and not table the issue for study and, eventually, bury it.
The county’s stance was announced in the wake of recent Cleveland planning discussions about the proposed annexation of eight areas around the county that would incorporate 2.41 square miles and more than 500 residents within city limits. If the annexation process goes according to schedule, it will be completed by June 13 and result in an estimated $152,755 in additional city property tax revenue annually.
The Bradley County Commission also voted 13-0 to formally request that the city accept any developer plats already approved by county inspectors within the proposed annexation areas.
Two developments within those areas — the Silver Springs subdivision near Freewill Road and a townhome development on Urbane Road — have come under scrutiny by members of the Ocoee Regional Building Association, who are concerned work will have to be redone to meet city standards.
City standards require 24-foot road widths, compared to the 22 feet required by the county, said Lake Mantooth, president of the building association. Cleveland also has more stringent setback standards.
Cleveland officials are working to address developers’ concerns, said Corey Divel, senior planner for the city’s Development and Engineering Department.
“We’ve all but got something hammered out,” Divel said of an attempt to accept development approvals previously given by the county.
The Planning Commission will meet at the municipal building at noon Thursday to discuss plans of service for the Silver Springs subdivision and the Urbane Road townhome development.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BREAKING NEWS! Senate Bill 279 Clears Committee Moves to Finance Subcommittee
The committee representatives clear bill 9-0 in favor to move the bill to a TACIR summer study program with a 2 year freeze on all annexations starting April 2, 2013. If any annexations are in progress they must stop until study is complete and additional legislation is recommended.
We need support for HB475 to move out of finance.
Watch Video on SB279 on floor
Reported by: Webb Wright
One local lawmaker wants to give Tennesseans a say in whether they can be annexed when their homes and communities are at stake. Ooltewah representative Mike Carter is sponsoring the annexation reform bill. Tennessee is one of only three states that don’t require referendums when a city want to annex surrounding areas.
The bill would force any annexation attempt to be put to a vote.
Carter says whether you are for or against annexation, Tennessee residents should have a voice in the process.
“The question is not whether it benefits you or not. The question is do you have the right as an American citizen and a citizen of Tennessee to vote on an issue that’s going to dramatically affect your life. And I say that in this and in all other issues, you have the right to vote.”
The bill is scheduled to go before the House Finance Ways & Means Subcommittee next week.
Residents, Leaders and Groups
Call & Email before Tuesday 3/9/12
Friends Of Hamilton, working with community leaders and state representatives is requesting an IMMEDIATE CALL TO ACTION to support of House Bill – 475. This bill would provide residents the RIGHT TO VOTE FOR ANNEXATION of their properties. We need you to call & email each of the representatives listed below and request their support!
The Tennessee Municipal League (TML- see bottom), City of Chattanooga, Collegedale and other city leaders oppose this bill because it takes away their ability to FORCIBLY annex Tennessee resident’s properties to reap tax revenues. There are only 3 states in the country that allow FORCIBLE annexation (we are one). North Carolina recently adopted a bill similar to HB-475 to provide their residents the right to vote on annexation (both city residents and rural communities).
What is forced annexation and why are we fighting it?
- Forced annexation allows a city to annex adjacent areas simply through a city council ordinance.
- Annexed businesses and residents don’t get a choice. And their taxes skyrocket.
- Since 1998, the State of Tennessee has operated a “forced annexation” regime driven by TML (2nd largest lobbing group paid for by tax payer dollars).
- Prior to 1998, Tennessee citizens were able to consent or deny annexation by majority vote.
- That right was a problem for city leaders looking to increase revenues without having to reduce spending or risk politically toxic tax increases.
- Tennessee is one of only three states using forced annexation (Idaho and Indiana are the others; North Carolina recently revoked its forced annexation law).
Forced annexation discourages government accountability
- Many cities use annexation as a way of avoiding desirable financial and budget reforms, like renegotiating unsustainable employee pensions and restructuring financing for needed infrastructure improvements.
- This dishonest cost shifting is unfair to residents targeted for annexation and unfair to city residents desiring honest, responsible and accountable government.
- Cost-shifting through forced annexation creates an arrogant attitude in city leaders similar to that of a welfare queen with an entitlement mentality, as if the city is entitled to tax residents in unincorporated areas just for living near the city.
- We believe city leaders seeking to annex should follow the American Way and sell to targeted residents the benefits of annexation, demonstrating that services and other value offered are worth the increased taxes.
Forced annexation encourages burdensome taxes
- Increased taxes from forced annexation are an unplanned burden many cannot afford.
- Some are forced to sell their property for under fair market price just to unload their increased burden.
- Newly-annexed residents and businesses must immediately pay their city taxes, but typically do not see service improvements, if any, for years.
Forced annexation often extends city infrastructure beyond capabilities
- For many cities, water and utility infrastructure may not be designed to accommodate expansion brought by annexation, often requiring costly upgrades.
- Many cities fail to appropriately increase their staffing to accommodate newly annexed areas.
- Residents and businesses in unincorporated suburban areas already have the services they need and want to live and work comfortably, from utilities and trash pickup to fire and police protection.
Rep. Jimmy Eldridge (R-73) 615-741-7475 email@example.com
Rep. Dale Carr (R-12) 615-741-5981 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Sherry Jones (D-59) 615-741-2035 email@example.com
Rep. Larry Miller (D-88) 615-741-4453 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Bo Mitchell (D-50) 615-741-4317 email@example.com
Rep. Antonio Parkinson 615-741-4575 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mike Sparks (R-49) 615-741-6829 email@example.com
Rep. Mike Stewart (D-52) 615-741-2184 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Matthew Hill (R-7) 615-741-2251 email@example.com
Rep. Joe Carr (R-48) 615-741-2180 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep .Jeremy Durham (R-65) 615-741-1864 email@example.com
Rep. Steve Hall (R-18) 615-741-2287 firstname.lastname@example.org
Confirmed to YES VOTE on BILL (GREAT!)
Rep. Mike Carter
Rep. Andy Holt (R-76)
Rep. Richard Floyd (R-27)
Rep. Vince Dean (R-30)
Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-11)
Read more about FORCE ANNEXATION on FOH Website: Click Here
Who is TML? Why should you care?
The Tennessee Municipal League (TML) is a lobbing group funded by cities looking to extend their reach. These cities are using city tax payer dollars to fund TML’s lobbing efforts. Most city residents do not realize their taxes are being spent on lobbing efforts to take property rights from Tennessee residents. We strongly encourage city residents call their elected councilmen and mayors to demand DE-FUNDING TML.
Look who is on their board are they representing TN resident’s interest?
Ron Littlefield Chattanooga Mayor (past)
Tom Rowland Cleveland Mayor
David May Cleveland Council Member
Madeline Rogero Knoxville Mayor
Kari Dean Nashville Mayor
Ken Wilber Portland Mayor
Margaret Feierabend Briston Council Member
Bo Perkinson Athens Vice Mayor
Kevin Helms Oak Hill City Manager
Vance Coleman Medina Mayor
Bryan Atchley Sevierville Mayor
Wallace Cartwright Shelbyvlle Mayor
Ann Davis Athens Council Member
John Holden Dyersburg Mayor
Sam Tharpe Paris Mayor
Bob Kirm Dyersburg Alderman
Tom Beehan Oak Ridge Mayor
Kay Senter Morristown Mayor Pro Tem
A.C. Wharton Memphis Mayor
Tommy Green Alamo Mayor
Allen Barker Humboldt Mayor
Curtis Hayes Livingston Mayor
Dot Lamarche Farragut Mayor
Norman Rone McMinville Mayor
John Hickman Waynesboro City Manager
David Gordon Covington Mayor
Troy Beets Kingston Director
Betsy Crossley Brentwood Council Member
Jerry Gist Jackson Mayor
Ron Washington Murfreesboro Council Member
Tommy Bragg Murfreesboro Mayor
Dale Kelley Huntingdon Mayor
Angi Carrier Johnson City Development Services Director
Charles Seivers TMBF President
By Rachel Sauls
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Another election has come and gone without the incorporation of the city of Hamilton on the ballot, but leaders in the effort aren’t disheartened.
“We’re going to keep pushing until we have all the valid signatures,” said Friends of Hamilton spokesperson Brendan Jennings.
For more than a year the group has been working through the legal process of incorporating a new city called Hamilton that potentially will extend from Mahan Gap Road north toward Highway 60 and from the Bradley County line south to the Tennessee River. So far, the biggest hang-up in the process has been the requirement of collecting valid signatures from one-third of the registered voters living within the potential new city’s boundaries.
“We have over 2,000 signatures but only roughly half are valid,” said Jennings. “Right now we have calls going out to those with valid signatures encouraging them to tell their friends and neighbors, and we also have a second call going out to those who need to fix their signatures.”
During the signature vetting process, the group has found that many of the people who signed the petition live within the city’s potential limits but are not registered voters, he explained.
“We’re going to continue to push forward,” Jennings said. “Certainly we’d like to have it done this year.”
One of the main reasons behind the Friends of Hamilton’s incorporation effort is the city of Chattanooga’s continued annexation of county property, especially over the last few years. The group recently released an annexation map that shows Chattanooga’s historic annexations from 1838 through the present.
More recent annexations show what the group describes as “cherry picking” properties to bring certain areas into the city primarily because of the tax dollars associated with each property. Jennings said the group feels like continued annexation is imminent regardless of who the city’s mayor will be for the next four years. Outgoing Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield expressed interest last year in reopening the urban growth boundaries in the county that would likely make more land annexable for the city.
“We’re trying to get the word out to the residents that whether or not they want annexation, annexation is coming to them,” Jennings said.
Friends of Hamilton, working with HCGIS, releases historical annexation map for the City of Chattanooga from 1838 to Present Day. This map demonstrates cherry picking for tax revenue in recent years by the City of Chattanooga.
Hires version click here
FOH: We appreciate Rep Carters help with this legislation, however Chattanooga has demonstrated its disregard for current state laws in the past with the monstrosity annexation along the Exit 11 in Ooltewah for tax revenue. Chattanooga will continue to do the same in the future unless there is teeth in the new legislation that imposes fines and penalties. Residents in the north end of the county may only have one solution, incorporate, that is defensible in the State’s eyes and prevents future annexation activities from Chattanooga.
Source : Times Freepress
Reporter: by Andy Sher
NASHVILLE — State Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, is pressing legislation aimed at blocking what he calls efforts by Chattanooga to “cherry pick” affluent suburbs outside its current urban growth boundary plan.
“I call it the Ryan’s buffet rule,” Carter told House Local Government Subcommittee Wednesday, alluding to the all-you-can-eat restaurant chain. “We don’t care how much you eat. Just eat all that’s on your plate before you go back and get another plate.”
The bill would affect all cities. The panel, despite reservations voiced by one member about its impact in his district, moved the bill to full committee.
Under a 1998 Tennessee law, cities are required to create urban growth boundaries where they expect to extend as a solution to urban sprawl.
“We’re finding, particularly in my district, the city of Chattanooga has an enormous urban growth area that they’re allowed to annex,” Carter said. “Yet they’re selecting not to annex those areas which they agreed to annex when they first came to annex under the urban growth plan.”
Chattanooga wants “to open their urban growth plan and go out into what has turned into more wealthy areas and cherry-pick areas and create or expand urban growth boundaries,” Carter said. “This bill would say that before you can open your urban growth plan you must annex all areas within your currently existing urban growth area.”
Officials with the Tennessee Municipal League, which represents cities’ interests, are looking at the legislation.
By Matt Barbour, Reporter
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) — Several businesses and homes along Highway 58 in Harrison are now part of the city of Chattanooga. The annexation went into effect at the stroke of midnight. But not all residents are happy about it.
The stretch of Highway 58 will now be patrolled by Chattanooga Police. Residents and businesses can now have city trash pick up. But one area of concern for folks is fire protection.
This past week, businesses and homes up and down Highway 58 in Harrison found new Chattanooga city garbage cans at the curb, with a letter welcoming them to the city of Chattanooga.
“It’s really the political mainstream looking to expand their tax base,” says Ron Childress, who is opposed to the annexation.
Zone ’6C’, a six mile stretch of road that runs from Harrison Ooltewah Road to Hickory Valley Road, was approved to be annexed last year and took effect January first.
One service some businesses are worried about, is fire protection.
“The volunteer fire department that’s just up the highway here wouldn’t be able to legally come and help us or any other business that’s on the highway,” says Amy Good, who works at Sweeney’s Barbeque off 58.
The restaurant is taking advantage of being annexed by applying for a single serve liquor license. But the prospect of new business does not ease Good’s nerves about fire response times.
“I don’t know how close the next fire station is, the way it could get to us, if we needed anything,” she says.
The closest Chattanooga city fire department is station number six off Bonny Oaks Drive and according to Google maps, is an additional 10 minute drive.
“We’re confident that we’ll be able to provide the same services to these new areas of the city as we do now,” says Capt. Terri Whiteside with the Chattanooga Fire Department.
She wants to calm any fears. She also wants to be clear about a part of the ordinance that says within six months, the need for additional fire hydrants will be determined; something that does not sit too well with Good.
“If you’re going to enlarge the city, I would think that you should have fire hydrants ready to go to protect the rest of the city that you’re going to call the city now,” says Good.
“Even if there’s not a hydrant right in front of the business, that does not mean that we do not have water. All of the apparatus carry a water supply, plus we have other apparatus that, all they do is carry water,” says Whiteside.
Whiteside also says the city fire station at Enterprise South will be responding in addition to Bonny Oaks. Both are staffed 24 hours.
She also says more than 20 recruits will be graduating later this year, and will be added to the force.