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Annexation foes rally in Raleigh

RALEIGH (AP) ó Spurred by a plan to freeze cities’ and towns’ ability to gobble up county land, more than 200 North Carolina residents gathered at the Legislative Building Wednesday to ask lawmakers, again, to forbid involuntary annexations.
Members of the Fair Annexation Coalition, Americans for Prosperity and Stop NC Annexation urged lawmakers to approve a one-year moratorium on towns’ and cities’ power to annex county land without the consent of those residents. The freeze would give lawmakers time to study the state’s annexation law and propose changes.
A House committee approved the plan last month, but it still needs the approval of the full House and Senate before it could head to Gov. Mike Easley’s desk.
Stop NC Annexation chairwoman Catherine Heath said involuntary annexations are unfair because residents are powerless to stop them, yet required to pay higher taxes when they go through.
“It’s like the mafia: ‘I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse,’ ” said Heath, whose neighborhood was involuntarily annexed into Cary several years ago.
For years, opponents have called on lawmakers to give residents the power to vote on their neighborhoods can be annexed.
Supporters say involuntary annexations help the state manage growth and offer residents improved services.
But residents facing such annexations, such as Phyllis Hendrix, say they already have the services they need.
“We don’t need anything that they could offer us,” said Hendrix, who said Salisbury is angling to involuntarily annex her neighborhood. “All they can offer us is higher taxes.”
Rowan County residents renewed their annexation fight after Salisbury’s aborted attempt to annex communities along N.C. 150 west of the city.

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