Arbogast to speak at anti-annexation meeting
Published 9:26 pm Thursday, March 4, 2010
Tryon councilman Doug Arbogast is scheduled to speak at the Annexation Law and Reform 2010 Conference on March 5-6 at the Brier Creek Hampton Inn and Suites.
Topics during the educational seminar, provided by StopNCAnnexation, will include legal challenges to the law, annexation reform and the status of legislation, grassroots advocacy and tips on talking to legislators.
Arbogast, a newly elected Tryon Town Council member, will explain why Tryon Town Council voted to rescind a forced annexation recently.
“My approach will be a description of how (annexation) divided the community and, in my opinion how the service aspect, sewer and related services construction could have bankrupted the town. I plan to tell my story of how I was elected, why Wim (Woody) was elected and the community responses both before and after the end of annexation,” Arbogast said.
Prior to his election in November, Arbogast said he had not formed a position on annexation. After the election, he said he would support the annexation, but quickly reversed his decision after talking to area residents. His reversal gave council the votes it needed to rescind the annexation.
Other speakers at the conference include Jason Kay of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, Daren Bakst of the John Locke Foundation, Kathy Hartkopf of Freedomworks and Kiernan Shanahan of the N.C. Property Rights Coalition. Two local government elected officials will present their views on annexation from their perspective.
“Well also have four state legislators share their perspective on annexation from from inside the legislature,” said Cathy Heath, StopNCAnnexation director. Sen. Larry Shaw (D-Cumberland) Sen. Phil Berger (R-Guilford, Rockingham), Rep. W. David Guice (Rep-Henderson, Polk, Transylvania) and Rep. Bill Faison (D-Caswell, Orange) will form the that panel.
“We hope this conference will kick start the conversation in the year ahead about reforming the annexation laws,” Heath said.
In 2008 a N.C. House select committee held public hearings on annexation law. Then in 2009, House and Senate leaders appointed a joint legislative committee. That committee recommended eight reforms, including allowing the people in an area targeted for annexation to vote on the issue.
Several annexation reform bills were introduced during the legislative session, but none were passed into law. StopNCAnnexation and other community groups opposed to force annexation are supporting two bills, Senate Bill 494 and House Bill 645. “Only these two bills go beyond tweaks and fix the problems with the law,” said Heath.
Heath said that most of the bills in the last legislative session catered to the interests of municipalities and merely tweaked the law. SB494 and HB645 however provide real reform for rural citizens.
“With the reforms in these bills, there will be no strip annexations, municipalities will not be able to get by by duplicating or simply not providing meaningful services, there are fewer reasons to appeal, less incentive to abuse voluntary and satellite annexation, fewer city initiated annexations, and far fewer appeals,” she said.