Rogersville continues annexation process - again

Jeff Bobo • Feb 13, 2007 at 10:51 AM

ROGERSVILLE - History was repeating itself Tuesday in Rogersville as homeowners west of the city appealed to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen not to annex their property, and the BMA voted to annex them anyway.

Last November, Rogersville completed the process of three public readings and a public hearing to finalize the annexation of 525 acres and approximately 275 homes on both sides of Highway 11-W, extending from the city limits west slightly more than a mile.

In each of the three readings of that ordinance, which took place in September, October and November, angry residents expressed their displeasure with the BMA for annexing them against their will.

When a group of those homeowners filed a lawsuit in December seeking to vacate the annexation, the BMA began the process again. That meant three more readings of an amended annexation ordinance which City Attorney Bill Phillips believes will correct any technical flaws in the original annexation.

Tuesday night the BMA approved the second of three required readings of two ordinances related to the annexation, and also held the required public hearing. Many of the same homeowners affected by the annexation attended Tuesday's BMA meeting to once again voice their objections.

Most ordinances end with the phrase "the public welfare requiring it." But Don Dimmick of the Prices Heights subdivision, which is included in the annexation, said it is not in the best interest of his welfare.

"I think I'm the public, and I need to decide what my welfare requires," Dimmick told the board. "I've not voted for any of you people, you don't represent me, and I should be the one to decide this."

Dimmick added that between the added school enrollment and the requirement for a $4.5 million sewer system to be installed within five years, the BMA is "voting yourselves a major headache here."

"You say you're going to put a sewer system in that big of an area, and you say it's going to take five years at $4.5 million - you can't touch it in that amount of time with that amount of money, and you all know it," Dimmick said.

Among the other concerns raised during the public hearing were the cost of sewer line hookup and monthly sewer bills to elderly residents on a fixed income, and whether or not the sewer system could manage the heavier load.

Mayor Jim Sells said the Water Commission would work with new customers to pay off the hookup over time, and said the sewer system does have adequate capacity.

One of the ordinances approved Tuesday was an amended version of the plan of services which calls for a copy of the plan to be available for public viewing in three locations. The public viewing portion had been omitted from the original ordinance.

Those public locations are the city recorder's office, the Water Commission office and the county's register of deeds office.

The second ordinance was the actual annexation ordinance including the amended plan of services. Rogersville requires three readings of an ordinance for final approval.

In other business Tuesday the BMA:

•Approved the third and final reading of an ordinance rezoning the former Testerman Motors property from B-3 to B-4 to allow a bowling alley.

•Approved the third and final reading of the description of M-R (medical-residential) zone to allow laundromats.

•Approved a request from Jim Collier to provide the skate park project with the final $12,000 of the total $40,000 in matching funds that the city had pledged to the project. The approval required an ordinance amending the city budget, and that ordinance was approved on first reading.

The BMA also approved the third and final reading of a previous ordinance providing $15,000 in matching funds.

•Authorized the city recorder to sell a confiscated vehicle and other surplus items for various city departments by sealed bid.

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