Working the equivalent of a full-time job for the past eight years, Cathy Heath jumped on board with StopNCAnnexation in 2003 when she felt the arm of local government made its way too close to her house in Cary. The town of Cary, the year before, had been in a contentious battle with local residents and landowners over annexing 629 Wake County residential units into the town limits. From her knowledge of and interest in property rights, Heath decided to investigate the matter further.
Her research and efforts catapulted her into a statewide endeavor. She now is working as the volunteer Director and Chairperson for the board of the North Carolina nonprofit – StopNCAnnexation.
“I gladly gave to this effort because of the injustice of forced annexation and the financial damage it was doing to people who more often than not could not afford it,” Heath said. “And the idea of forcing people under a city government against their will was counter to the principles that America stood for.”
Using the Internet as the main resource to bridge gaps between communities across the state, Heath continues to work tirelessly alongside many volunteers. She educates and brings together residents who have shared common experiences and gone through court processes.
“This has been a cause that people join willingly and that has grown with nearly every forced annexation that has been attempted over the last 10 years,” Heath said. “And it has been these highly motivated people across the State who have brought us all where we are today. Candidates have come to realize that this is an issue most cannot ignore and changing the law is important to those who elected them.”
Heath’s main mission is “to restore the voice of the property owners when a city considers their property ripe for becoming part of the city.”
Heath has appeared on broadcast news reports across the state, as well as in newspapers. The Cary News recently wrote about her efforts with ongoing annexation reform and moratorium debate in the state Legislature.
“Heath, 58, a landscape designer and homemaker, argues that the original intent of annexation – cities providing urban services such as water and sewer to rural areas – has been replaced by an effort by cities to make money,” the newspaper reported.
Heath has also organized many rallying efforts across the state to shed light on details regarding state laws and city ordinances. Through this effort, she has spearheaded a coalition to show the other side to the annexation story.
“I was blessed with the time and resources to devote most of my time searching for information that explained the law, helped others understand who and what organizations the people were up against, and supply people with the research that countered the arguments for forced annexation,” Heath said.
To find out more about StopNCAnnexation go to www.stopncannexation.com.