By Mark Wineka
Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz promised Tuesday that the city would soon distribute a question-and-answer type document to address misinformation and distortions that have been appearing in the newspaper about the N.C. 150 annexation proposal.
Kluttz said the city would be developing the Q&A in coming days.
She reiterated that city officials are following proper procedures outlined by state statutes governing involuntary annexations and said the area in question has been part of the city’s growth plan for 10 years.
“We continue to believe we’re doing the best thing for our city” and its future, she said.
As Salisbury City Council conducted its regular meeting Tuesday, close to 20 annexation opponents monitored its actions. Many in the crowd had with them signs that said “No Forced Annexation.”
There was no time set aside in Tuesday’s meeting for public comment.
The council considered two resolutions related to annexation Tuesday ó one forwarded to it by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners and one written by city officials themselves.
Both resolutions have been distributed to other municipalities in Rowan County for their consideration.
The county resolution asks support or “non-opposition” to a temporary moratorium on forced annexation in Rowan.
The temporary moratorium would affect all Rowan County municipalities “equally for its duration.”
On Feb. 18, county commissioners asked N.C. Reps. Fred Steen and Lorene Coates and N.C. Sen. Andrew Brock to introduce a local bill to place a temporary moratorium on forced annexation in Rowan.
Coates, Steen and Brock said they would submit such a bill, aimed primarily at stopping Salisbury’s proposed involuntary annexation of the N.C. 150 area of mostly residential subdivisions.
Those subdivisions include Woodbridge Run, Westmont, Summerfield, Glen Heather, Windmill Ridge, Hidden Hut, Homestead Hills and Neel Estates. The total annexation area, which includes a portion of the Rowan County Airport, would take in an estimated 1,699 people and 2,075 acres.
Polled by Kluttz, council members quickly declined to take any action on the county resolution.
As expected, council approved the city-authored resolution “in support of sound, fair and uniform municipal annexation statutes.”
Part of the resolution says, “annexation allows municipalities, on behalf of their residents, to ensure that those who benefit from municipal services and their proximity to a municipality help pay a fair share of the cost of those services and benefits.”
It also notes that the N.C. General Assembly “has determined that it is in the best interests of North Carolina citizens to allow municipalities authority to undertake annexation of adjacent developing areas under strict, specified circumstances and standards.”
Kluttz and councilmen Mark Lewis, Bill Burgin and William “Pete” Kennedy voted for the resolution. Mayor Pro Tem Paul Woodson could not attend Tuesday’s meeting.
The city will hold a public information session on the annexation at 7 p.m. March 27 at the Salisbury Civic Center, 315 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. South.
A formal public hearing will be held at 4 p.m. April 8 at City Hall, 217 S. Main St.
Property owners in the annexation area have the right to request the extension of water and/or sewer lines to their properties from now until five days after the public hearing.
The requests must be submitted on a form available from the city clerk’s office at City Hall and must be returned no later than five days after the hearing to preserve that right.
In another annexation matter, council approved a $47,800 contract to Shulenburger Surveying Co. to survey properties in the annexation area.
Purchasing Manager Dewey Peck said the city received only one bid for the work, meaning the council had to pass a resolution authorizing that the survey be exempt from regular qualified based bidding.
Exemptions can be made from having more than one bid based on factors which include “time being of the essence,” according to general statutes.
“Time is of the essence in completion of this work,” Peck said.
Shulenburger Surveying has offered to complete the work within the time frame required by the city, Peck added.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mark Wineka