FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — For the second time, the courts are stepping into Fayetteville's annexation fight.
On Monday, the state Supreme Court issued a stay to delay the city's takeover bid. Two weeks ago, the state Court of Appeals made the same move but lifted its order.
Fearing that continuing to provide service in the previously annexed areas may result in a contempt-of-court citation, the Fayetteville City Council voted late Monday night not to collect the garbage on Tuesday in the newly annexed area.
The split vote of the council not to collect Tuesday's garbage came after a lengthy debate over the issue. Members of the council who feared that doing so would break the law prevailed, defeating a motion to collect the garbage in the newly annexed area.
Earlier Monday, city staff planned to collect the garbage for Tuesday's route because the city received notice by the North Carolina Supreme Court to stay the annexation at close of business.
But, because of the precedent set by the Supreme Court in issuing a stay after an area has been annexed, the council wanted to be cautious about the court's ruling.
According to city legal advisers, the stay by the Supreme Court caused a number of issues to come into question.
The city already had annexed the area based on the rulings of the Superior Court and the state Court of Appeals. City officials also entered into contracts with five private garbage haulers, and the city absorbed into its workforce paid firefighters from two volunteer fire stations that now no longer exist as rural fire stations.
The city also will provide fire service to the two fire districts that no longer have a volunteer fire department, according to City Manager Roger Stancil.
Fayetteville's annexation plan includes more than 40,000 people.