Annexation process could soon require votes from residents - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Proposed bill promises required vote before annexation

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House Bill 2371 passed a house panel last week, but others want to wait for a year before voting. House Bill 2371 passed a house panel last week, but others want to wait for a year before voting.

(WMC-TV) - A proposal making its way through Nashville would require a vote before cities annex areas in Tennessee.

"Tennessee is one of three states that allows forced annexation," said representative (R) Mike Carter from East Tennessee outside of Chattanooga.

He stands against any annexation that does not allow those annexed to vote first.

"The right to vote, the self determination was made at the formation of our country at the drafting of our constitution," he said.

He knows about the issues across the state including in Memphis, where cities and towns annex unincorporated areas without any vote.

"When a city annexes a person out of the county into the city their life is radically changed. Their taxes are increased, often doubled. The regulations are generally more than doubled," said Carter.

Nearly 5,000 residents in unincorporated Cordova became part of the city of Memphis about 18 months ago.

"We feel that we are being looked upon as dollar signs for more revenue," said Matt Lackey, who was annexed.

House Bill 2371 would prevent that; it passed a house panel last week, but others want to wait for a year before voting.

"It's a fairly complex issue," said Memphis State Representative (D) Antonio Parkinson.

Parkinson says he is not against the bill, but he would like to see the results of a state study on the issue, which will not be completed for another year.

"They didn't complete the study ... recommended that we extend the moratorium on annexations for the study to be completed," said Parkinson.

Representative Carter says the issue is a cut-and-dry issue to him.

"What good in the world would it do to say that the right to vote is a good idea or a bad idea," he said.

The annexation referendum bill could pass another hurdle next week.

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