State Representative holds meeting on proposed annexation bills

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - When it comes to annexation, property owners in Tennessee could soon have a say. State leaders are considering legislation that could change how communities are annexed.

News 5 headed to a community meeting Sunday that was giving residents the opportunity to ask questions and discuss annexation.

The fight to keep local cities from expanding into homeowner's front yards, it's sparking conversation at a town-hall style meeting in Kingsport Sunday afternoon.

State Representative Tony Shipley giving homeowners the chance to have their voices heard. "How many people in this room thinks that we should pass a law this year imposing a two year moratorium on cities to give us time to back up and think about what we're doing? How many would be in favor of that," asked Representative Shipley.

Currently Tennessee legislators are mulling over 18 separate bills on annexation. Representative Shipley says there are two main pieces with this, one of those proposals giving property owners essentially the right to say no simply by a vote. The other puts a halt before any decision is made.

"Cities have to grow, they provide services to communities that otherwise would not have them. But the flip of that is there are communities that could care less," added Representative Shipley.

Before borders change homeowners say they simply want the chance to have a say. "I don't have a choice anymore because I have been annexed. But if they would have asked me a year ago, I would have said no because now my community school is closing," said city homeowner Tacie Baumrucker.

Other homeowners have questions before a proposed bill becomes law. "If they do come in and annex the whole Colonial Heights community, are we going to get the services that the city now gets," asked county homeowner Angie Stanley.

Representative Shipley tells us he expects a discussion this week among state leaders on annexation. If anything does pass, we've learned it could become law by July 1st.

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