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Annexed residents complain about lack of services

Posted October 14, 2008
Updated October 15, 2008

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— Three years after Fayetteville annexed about 43,000 residents, some homes still haven't been able to tap into city services like municipal water and sewer lines.

"I would say (annexation has) been an empty promise," said Lofton Stewart, a homeowner whose property was annexed after a long legal battle.

This summer, the city ran a water line within 16 feet of his well pump house, but the line was only for nearby residents whose wells were contaminated. Stewart said it could be years before he's able to access the line.

"If you're going to put the line in, why not service the residents?" he asked.

North Carolina is one of a handful of states that allow involuntary annexations. As part of the deal, the city is supposed to supply services in a reasonable amount of time.

The state House passed a moratorium on forced annexations last spring, but the Senate scrapped it, saying the bill didn't meet Senate rules.

State Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, a member of a joint legislative commission reviewing the state's annexation laws, said he sees no need for a temporary ban.

"I don't know that the law is wrong," Rand said. “What we want to do (with the study commission) is look and see what other states are doing, what’s working well.”

Under state law, a city needs to provide police and fire protection and solid waste pick-up on the first day of annexation. There is no immediate requirement for water and sewer services.

Fayetteville City Councilman Charles Evans, who wasn't on the council when the 2005 annexation was approved, wants the law changed to make sure annexed residents get such municipal services quickly.

"We should have items in place to go forward with annexation so Individuals won't have to wait half their lives for the water, for the sewer," Evans said.

Next Monday, residents of the Gates Four subdivision plan to protest a City Council vote on forcibly annexing their affluent, gated community.

"We have what we need out here to take care of ourselves," said Kathie Dees, a Gates Four resident.

Gates Four already has its own water and other services, Dees said.

"(The city wants the annexation) to get the money. That's all it is," she said.


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  • Justabum Oct 15, 2008

    Before we were annexed the city held a series (required) of meetings to explain the "benefits" of annexation. During those meetings we learned that some of the folks who were being annexed would have to wait for something like fifteen years before they received city services. But they would be required to pay taxes from the day of annexation.
    The only good things to come from the annexation was that the mayor who pushed it was soundly defeated in the next election and the new council fired the city manager.
    There is still some question as to whether or not the density figures that the city floated about were accurate. But we all get to pay our taxes, much of which are being poured into a rebuild of the downtown area which is many miles away from our area.

  • ohmygosh Oct 15, 2008

    Too bad there isn't something in the law like landlord-tenant provisions. When the city doesn't provide services, the tax money is held in escrow until the dispute is resolved. There needs to be some balance of powers.

  • Justabum Oct 14, 2008

    Not everyone lives in a subdivision. Much of the land which was annexed is still being farmed.

  • Justabum Oct 14, 2008

    What is it about the growth that makes annexation "necessary"?

  • Rolling Along Oct 14, 2008

    If basic subdivision requirements had not been circumvented in Cumberland County over 50 years ago the annexations wouldn't be such an issue. I agree part of the time it is a grab to increase tax base, other times it is a necessity due to excessive, uncontrolled growth.

  • Adelinthe Oct 14, 2008

    What a surprise! NOT!!!

    The first and foremost priority of annexing is to increase the tax base, not to provide additional services.

    If additional services are ever provided, it's to shut people up, not to provide customer service.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Justabum Oct 14, 2008

    I was a victim of Fayetteville's forced annexation and I agree with everything the gentleman in the story said.

    But the tax notice always arrives on time.

  • vipclean Oct 14, 2008

    Most of the stories you see on forced annexation are from people that do not want to be a part of that munincipality. People in public office need to be reminded that they do not rule, they represent. However, as always with them, it is about getting your money.

  • whatusay Oct 14, 2008

    Greedy government/politicians wanting every cent they can get. There should be no city taxes for the people who are not receiving the services. That includes police, water, sewer services, trash pick up, paved roads and drainage, lighted streets. Otherwide the people responsible for the annexation are just crooks and theives.