Wake neighborhood fighting Raleigh annexation
Posted April 19, 2009 5:41 p.m. EDT
Updated April 20, 2009 9:35 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Residents in the Berkshire Downs neighborhood in northeastern Wake County are fighting Raleigh's annexation plan. In the down economy, they say, it is too expensive.
“They're worried and scared and they just think that they can't afford it,” said James Alston, resident of the Berkshire Downs neighborhood.
“The median income in this neighborhood is probably about $50,000 to $55,000,” said Matt Trickel, resident of the Berkshire Downs neighborhood.
Joining the City of Raleigh means paying property taxes, fees, and part of the cost of putting in new water and sewer lines. Installing the new lines could cost around $8,000 per lot, plus connection fees.
Many people who live in the Berkshire Downs neighborhood say if the city moves forward with the annexation, they will be forced to sell. If they cannot sell their home, they will be forced into foreclosure.
“I know what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck,” Raleigh City Councilman Rodger Koopman said.
That is why Koopman says he changed his mind on annexing Berkshire Downs, which is nearly encircled by Raleigh. The council voted in January to forcibly annex the neighborhood, but there was a second vote last week. That vote was one shy of overturning the annexation.
“Maybe this is a good decision two or three or four years from now, but just not right now in this economy,” Koopman said.
“The states are cutting back. The cities are cutting back. How can they expect us to go forward when we're not getting anymore money? It's just putting a burden on us,” Alston said.
Residents are hoping to talk with Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker on Monday about their concerns. Residents say they are also working to get another council member to change their mind which would give them enough votes to overturn the annexation decision.
Meanwhile, city leaders say they are looking into delaying assessment fees for residents for several years to help ease the costs.