BRISTOL, Tenn. — A legislative policy wish list presented by Tri-Cities municipal governments to Northeast Tennessee lawmakers on Friday included a plea to not restrict annexation.
“Where you can, leave local decisions at the local level with people that eat, sleep, live and breathe those issues on a daily basis,” Pete Peterson, city manager of Johnson City, asked lawmakers at an annual meeting held this year at the 620 State St. event facility. “... The cities are the economic engine of the county and ultimately, the state of Tennessee. Cities are going to have to grow to prosper.”
The Tri-Cities Joint Legislative Policy (JLP) document given to lawmakers warned anything restricting annexation would be “potentially detrimental to the economic growth” of the state.
Legislation passing the General Assembly last year placed a moratorium on annexations through May 15, and led to a Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) study on the issue.
The TACIR study suggested “Tennessee should adopt a more participatory process, one that gives people more control over whether and when they are annexed.”
In the late 1990s, state lawmakers passed a “Growth Policy” law allowing cities to establish urban growth boundaries for annexation by ordinance and planned growth areas for annexation by residents’ consent.
Aside from annexation, the local governments asked for no further cuts in the state’s Hall Income Tax on investments and also warned that replacing revenue from the tax would equate to property tax increases ranging from four to eight cents.
For an expanded version of this article, please see Saturday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.