City Council Balks At One Annexation, But Approves Others

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The City Council on Tuesday night voted 5-4 against one annexation sought by Mayor Ron Littlefield, but approved several others.

The panel unexpectedly turned down an annexation of a small section at Summit and there were close votes on several other annexations.

The vote not to add the small section at Summit came after a member of the Woodard family, Tamara Woodard, again spoke against the move, saying Summit residents had long suffered from the old city landfill.

She said members of her family had lived at Summit for five generations and would be the ones paying the higher property taxes.

The small section is currently in unincorporated Ooltewah.

Voting against the annexation were Russell Gilbert, Pam Ladd, Andrae McGary, Peter Murphy and Deborah Scott.

A move to annex a section of the Morris Hills area barely passed. Voting against were council members Gilbert, Ladd, McGary and Scott.

Voting against taking in a section of Hixson near Fairview Road were council members Gilbert, Ladd and Murphy.

Councilman Gilbert has voted against all the annexations, while staunch supporters have been council members Manny Rico, Sally Robinson, Carol Berz and Jack Benson.

Several annexations were approved on second and final reading.

Those included:

A vote of 8-1 to annex the remainder of the Cummings Cove subdivision in Lookout Valley, and a vote of 6-3 to annex a section in Hixson including the Ramsgate subdivision and to approve the annexation of seven households in Middle Valley.

The council approved on first reading the annexation of three small areas in Ooltewah.

Council member Carol Berz said she was concerned about repeated comments that city fire and police were already stretched too thin with the existing city.

Police Chief Freeman Cooper said his officers can take in the new areas without additional costs.

Fire Chief Randy Parker said a new academy is planned and his department will be fully staffed. He said three new fire halls are planned to serve the annexed areas.

However, Rusty Rymer of the firefighters association said the group is "very concerned about staffing the stations."

He said three additional fire halls are needed within the current city limits.

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