Officials of Friends of Hamilton said they emailed 92 Tennessee county mayors Saturday on behalf of state Rep. Mike Carter’s bill to end forced annexation in Tennessee, HB 475. A floor vote on the bill is scheduled for Tuesday.
The group said HB 475 "returns to Tennessee citizens the right to vote whether or not to be annexed into an adjacent city. Since 1998, cities could annex areas within their designated urban growth boundaries through a simple ordinance."
“We are supporting Mike Carter’s bill because it recognizes the rights of affected citizens to have a say on a matter of great importance to them,” said Friends of Hamilton CEO Chris Matthews.
“We believe our interests coincide with those of most county mayors. Forced annexation infringes the property rights of citizens who choose to live outside of cities with no due process or voice in the matter. That’s just not the way we should do things in America.
”Tennessee is one of only three states operating a forced annexation regime. Idaho and Indiana are the other two. North Carolina had a forced annexation law for 100 years until it was recently overturned by its state legislature.
"Forced annexation allows city leaders to more easily increase revenues without having to reform bad spending habits or risk politically toxic tax increases. This is one reason FOH believes the Tennessee Municipal League has supported the forced annexation regime since its inception.
“The TML gets its funding from cities and is a lobbying group for cities’ interests. We believe it is wrong for TML to use city taxpayer dollars to infringe on the property rights of county residents living in unincorporated areas without allowing those citizens a voice in the matter. And we intend to right that wrong.”