Union County Pulse: August 12

Annexation and the Truth

I am humbled to serve as Vice Chairman for the Union County Board of Commissioners. I represent all of Union County and recently have received calls about annexation efforts ongoing near Marvin. I also have received calls and have read about my friends in Hunter Oaks who are concerned about forced annexation into the city of Charlotte. I write today to set the record straight and lay out the facts.

This past January, citizens asked that we, the Union County Board of Commissioners, consider sending a resolution of support in favor of North Carolina House Bill H845. The purpose was to support this bill in the North Carolina General Assembly that would end the practice known as “involuntary annexation” or as I see it, forced annexation. In a 4-1 vote with Mrs. Kuehler dissenting, this board sent a clear message to Raleigh that the days of taking one’s property would not be tolerated anymore. I am pleased to report that HB845 was championed by Craig Horn, Justin Burr and Tommy Tucker. Together they stood firm for your property rights and the bill passed overwhelmingly by a 104-5 margin in favor of the law.

What’s in the bill? Here’s the part that everyone should understand. Property owners now receive the opportunity to vote for an annexation attempt. If 60 percent of property owners reject the attempted annexation, the municipality loses and property owners win. Currently there is an existing agreement in place between the towns of Marvin, Weddington and Stallings with the city of Charlotte which says no forced annexation shall occur between these municipalities. On August 1, 2011, I made the motion to work with the municipalities here in Union County and with the city of Charlotte to extend this agreement. This was passed with a 5-0 vote.

The good news is with the new law in place cities like Charlotte no longer can take over your property without consent of the people. Furthermore, towns like Waxhaw would also be subject to this new law. And Waxhaw would also have to pay for water/sewer connections if anyone is not hooked up which is a disincentive to towns when they weigh the costs involved in annexations today.

So what does this new law mean in regards to voluntary annexation? Nothing, as the current law on voluntary annexation has not changed. North Carolina allows for those who wish to be voluntarily annexed as long there is 100 percent agreement by each property owner. Which means both husband and wife would have to sign off on the property if they owned it together. Getting one hundred percent agreement on anything is really a tough sell.

Finally, what about incorporation? The law states that this would have to be done at the state level. Furthermore, newly incorporated municipalities would be required to set a minimum five cent tax per $100 of the valued home. In addition, the new town would have to provide services such as police protection, fire protection, solid waste service and zoning. In most cases, 3/5 of the legislators in the North Carolina General Assembly would also have to vote to allow a new town to exist.

I believe all property owners in Union County should have a fair opportunity to decide what they want. I believe adding more government control is what’s gotten us in the mess our country is in today. We are a Republic governed by the rule of law where the people have a say and not one entity.

If you want to be annexed you have that right but also know that with this new legislation, you have the right to deny (including the ability to deny Charlotte). I can tell you personally that many of my friends who are municipal leaders weren’t happy with me that we supported HB845. I respectfully disagree with their arguments and believe in your property rights. You should decide if you want to be part of a town and not the other way around.

We live in a wonderful county and I’m proud of the work we are doing to make Union County a better place for you and for your family. Please email me at todd.johnson@co.union.nc.us if you have questions or concerns.

Todd Johnson
Vice Chairman
Union County Board of Commissioners

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