Annexation plan moves forward

By Jenni Vincent
Staff Writer
Posted 4/16/07

DAPHNE — City council members readily acknowledged at Monday’s meeting that much remains to be done before the proposed Belforest annexation can be successfully accomplished.

But that challenge didn’t stop them from voting to officially …

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Annexation plan moves forward

Posted

DAPHNE — City council members readily acknowledged at Monday’s meeting that much remains to be done before the proposed Belforest annexation can be successfully accomplished.

But that challenge didn’t stop them from voting to officially move forward with the plan.

In a 5-0 vote, city leaders approved an annexation resolution.

As a result of the unanimous vote, public notice of the planned action — to annex land in the Belforest community east of Daphne —will be published locally for the next four weeks.

Councilwomen Cathy Barnette and Regina Landry were absent.

Timing is important since this proposed action must be approved by the state legislature, a part-time body that adjourns in June, said city attorney Jay Ross.

“The legislature must pass a bill, which will allow the people in the affected area to vote on it,” Ross said.

“If it is passed by the legislature and the governor signs it, there will be an election within 90 days of approval by the governor,” he said.

Ross said that the legislators and governor generally approve this type of municipal request.

He said it will be a month until legislators can even consider the request, due to the required legal advertising.

“So that means it can’t be introduced to them until mid-May, so that only gives them two or three weeks to take this action,” Ross said.

Local public meetings on the proposal allow both city and state representatives to “gauge the citizens’ sentiment,” he said.

Two additional public meetings have been scheduled for next week.

A meeting on Wednesday, April 25, beginning at 6:30 p.m., will be held at the African Universal Church Resource Center.

This facility is located at 8355 Jonesboro Road, off of Friendship Road.

The second meeting will be held Friday, April 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m. It will be held at the Pine Grove Church sanctuary, located at 26154 County Road 13.

Councilman Gus Palumbo agreed that timing is a factor.

“That’s the only reason I’m going to support it tonight,” Palumbo said.

Additional work needs to be done by city leaders before “hundreds of new homes are annexed,” he said.

“It’s clear that we need to present a viable case to the people that we are asking to come into the city,” Palumbo said.

“But we also have an obligation to the current residents to make sure that their level of services won’t be reduced,” he said.

Councilman Ron Scott agreed, adding that the city’s “true costs” for the annexation still need to be determined.

He said that the now mainly rural area may not immediately generate much revenue for the city.

“It may be better in the long run with the commercial development of the Route 181 corridor, if that occurs,” Scott said.

Scott also suggested that affected subdivision property owners associations be notified of the planned action.