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  • (female announcer) This is a production of WKNO - Memphis.

  • Production funding for "Behind the Headlines" is made possible

  • in part by..

  • The fight over annexation in the suburbs tonight

  • on "Behind the Headlines".

  • ♪♪♪

  • I'm Eric Barnes, publisher of the Memphis Daily News.

  • Thanks for joining us.

  • We are joined tonight by State Representative Steve McManus

  • representing Cordova.

  • Thank you for being here.

  • Thank you!

  • Also Bill Boyd from the Memphis City Council.

  • Thank you for being here.

  • My pleasure.

  • Jim Tomasik from Cordova's Voice.

  • Thanks for having me.

  • Absolutely.

  • And Bill Dries, senior reporter with the Memphis Daily News.

  • We'll start with you, Steve.

  • The annexation is complicated.

  • We'll get in to some of the history of it.

  • We'll get in to where we are now.

  • But there's some change in the air.

  • The state legislature in this past session put a moratorium

  • in place.

  • Why a moratorium and what do you all hope to get out of this

  • moratorium?

  • Yeah, sure.

  • Um, there's a real sense going on in Nashville and you can

  • really feel it.

  • And the bottom line is that our constituents are really saying

  • we want more of a voice when it comes to annexation issues.

  • We are one of the handful of states in the United States that

  • still allows a municipality to really exercise their heavy hand

  • of government and simply come in and take a particular territory.

  • And there's no doubt about it that we've had a tough time when

  • it comes to the economy.

  • And we seem to be seeing more and more of this annexation

  • issues as the economy was in pretty tough,

  • you know, a pretty tough strain.

  • So that's what we're hoping for right now.

  • What we're considering is a moratorium for about a year to

  • see if really we want to change the law and become one

  • of the majority of states that will say,

  • "If a particular area is going to be annexed,

  • it's going to be done by referendum" meaning you have a

  • vote versus simply giving that power to the municipality.

  • And that's a vote of the people there,

  • being annexed, which right now doesn't exist.

  • And I think that's part of your concern,

  • Jim.

  • You are in an area that has not been annexed by the city of

  • Memphis?

  • No, we were just annexed recently.

  • And the situation is we were not even aware that this was going

  • on.

  • I guess we were minding our own business.

  • And next thing I know, we get a notice in the mail saying that

  • our..

  • We owed taxes.

  • But not only taxes starting at that time,

  • they're billing us for a period of time before that which drove

  • our house notes up in the south Cordova area up a lot.

  • There's no evidence that we received any services from the

  • city of Memphis prior to this time.

  • So I'm not exactly sure how in the world they could back tax

  • you for something that you did not receive.

  • And, uh, it really has the people in this area up in arms.

  • And we've had some meetings where 500 people showed up.

  • And these are the people who could make the meeting showed

  • up.

  • And they're all upset that this has happened without their

  • ability to have a vote to say we want to be a part of Memphis or

  • we don't.

  • Something that happened..

  • If I go too long just cut me off.

  • But something that happened in Millington would be a perfect

  • example about how this should be run.

  • Millington went to annex an area,

  • two areas: Lucy and Kerr.

  • Kerr is north of them.

  • Lucy is south of Millington.

  • And they gave the people a choice to be annexed.

  • This is, even with the current laws,

  • and this is not long ago.

  • They gave them choice to be annexed.

  • The people in the Kerr area said,

  • "No, we don't want to be annexed."

  • The people in the Lucy area said,

  • "Sure, we want to be a part of Millington."

  • Millington said, "Welcome aboard, Lucy.

  • "We'll talk to ya later, Kerr."

  • That gave the people a voice.

  • And one way or the other.

  • Right, right.

  • Um, Bill Boyd, where do you stand on annexation?

  • I mean right now, it's the city council that votes,

  • you know, and has areas that it's identified to annex.

  • It's taken areas over the past few years including this area.

  • Is it a proper role and a proper process right now for the city

  • of Memphis to annex this one?

  • Well I think it is.

  • Of course I'm the only one representing the city here.

  • So I presume I'm also representing the city

  • administration in a way.

  • So I can't speak for them but I can't speak for the rest of the

  • council.

  • But I'd like to correct a couple of things that Jim said earlier

  • and that's the tax.

  • The city administration is not taxing those people beginning

  • January 1.

  • It's a fiscal year and has been ever since I've been in city

  • government.

  • And Bill knows I've been in a long time.

  • But it's a fiscal year beginning July 1.

  • So that's when the taxation began through June 30.

  • Also, uh, the..

  • This is going back.

  • If he didn't know it and I don't doubt that you did not know it

  • was in the works.

  • It's been in the works since 2001,

  • year 2001.

  • And a group of about five citizens out there in south

  • Cordova area, they, um, came with a law suit.

  • And that thing was pending for a number of years.

  • It's finally in chancellor court here in Shelby County.

  • Finally the judge ruled on it and dismissed it,

  • the lawsuit in June of 2011.

  • So it was not promptly answered by the plantiffs in the case.

  • Those five individuals within a months time,

  • they were required to by July of 2011.

  • So it became annexed at that point.

  • But going forward, let's skip that for one second and say

  • going forward, would you be opposed to changes in the way

  • annexations are done in the future?

  • In the sense that people who are to be annexed would have a voice

  • in it in the way that Representative McManus and Jim

  • here are talking about how other states do it.

  • Well it's probably not politically prudent for me to

  • say this but, uh, I have been around a long time.

  • And I have witnessed the Frayser annexation and on down the line

  • from there.

  • Parkway Village, Whitehaven, Oakhaven,

  • Raleigh, all those leading up to the big Cordova annexation some

  • years back.

  • I think it is a proper way because I don't believe if this

  • passed in Nashville like, uh, Steve says these other states

  • have done recently gone in to.

  • I don't think the citizens would ever approve any annexation.

  • Would that be bad?

  • Well it's a fairness thing in my opinion.

  • Yeah.

  • You've got our city council attorney,

  • Allan Wade, made a statement that upset a lot of south

  • Cordova people by saying without being annexed and in an

  • unincorperated area, that they're taking advantage of a

  • lot of the services in the city.

  • Well I know some of the residents out there said,

  • "I've never seen a city police car,"

  • and all this kind of thing.

  • But no, they haven't.

  • But they..

  • All those citizens just have an imaginary line.

  • They're right across the street in some instance of a city.

  • Citizens who are paying all the taxes for the streets,

  • the street lights.

  • The people that those residents go to work.

  • They go to church.

  • They go to all the entertainment,

  • places in the city like doctors and all that.

  • So they utilize those services that only the city of Memphis

  • tax payer pays for.

  • So it's a fairness thing as far as I'm concerned.

  • Yeah, yeah.

  • Let me just say in response to that that,