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Forced annexation moratorium on hold for now

A moratorium on forced annexation will likely have to wait, because it won't pass the state Senate this session.

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GOLDSBORO, N.C. — For years, hundreds of people who live in the rural area of Buck Swamp Road near Goldsboro have been fighting to stay out of Goldsboro's city limits.

"We live in the country, and that's the way we want to stay," said Larry Pierce.

Larry Pierce and others who make up Good Neighbors United say they want no part of Goldsboro's forced annexation.

"We're satisfied with the services we have, and its going to be double taxation for no additional services," Pierce said.

City leaders argue annexation will bring improvements, such as sewers, to replace older septic tanks.

Officials also say the increased tax base is necessary to keep up with growth and to improve places like parks already used by people in and outside of the city limits.

"(It will) Increase the general well-being of the region and the city, and I think that leads to economic prosperity for all," said Goldsboro City Manager Joseph Huffman.

The Goldsboro case is currently under review by the North Carolina Supreme Court, and is one of many in the state that could be affected by possible changes to the law.

Last week, the state House approved House Bill 2367 bill that would put a temporary hold on all involuntary annexation until May 31, 2009. That would give state leaders a chance to review the current, and nearly 50-year-old, law.

"We would consider it a big win if it is passed," Pierce said.

North Carolina is one of only four states that still allow involuntary annexations.

But Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand says it won't pass and that the chamber won't consider the bill as it is now because it does not comply with rules for the current session.

He said he believes the current annexation law does need a review and that he and other lawmakers hope to study the issue in the next session.

That means no moratorium August, which is when the moratorium would have started..

"If they would take time to review it, then they would see the laws need to be changed," Pierce said.

"Annexation laws probably don't need to be amended very much," Huffman said. "We're where we are at because we've been doing things the right way for a long time."


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