The tortuous route of the moratorium on forced annexation in North Carolina took another agonizing step today when the House Judiciary II Committee again to hear the bill. At the last meeting on Thursday, June 19th, the Chairman, former Speaker of the House Dan Blue (D-Wake) waited until the end of the meeting to take up the bill and time ran out before a vote could be taken. Annexation opponents had counted votes and figured they had a good chance to win vote. When today’s meeting began, the room was packed with even more victim’s of forced annexation from Moore, Rowan Wake and Johnston Counties.
After hearing from the NC League of Municipalities General Counsel, Andy Romanet make the offer to negotiate with lawmakers in order to avoid a moratorium, Reps. Larry Brown (R-Forsyth) and Bruce Goforth (D-Buncombe) both stated that the League’s offer to negoiate was just that: an offer.
Rep. Blue then began to slowly propose some sort of settlement between the sides that both may find agreeable. One of his proposals was to punish cities that annex residents without providing services in a timely manner by having the residents taxes withhold from the offending city.
Annexation opposition leader Doug Aiken countered by telling the committee that cities that abuse the annexation process may be adhering to the letter of the law but the law itself is flawed to begin with and needs to be changed.
In the end, despite efforts by Reps. Joe Kiser (R-Lincoln) and Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) to make motions to vote on the bill, Blue announced that he planned to continue the meeting in the future and hoped to offer an amendment that addressed his prior concern.
Annexation proponents should consider the moritorium the least damaging proposal to their position. Should the moritorium fail this session, it has the potential to become a tsunami of citizen activism next session that could result in an end to forced annexation altogether in the Old North State.