More time sought for annex. appeal

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The City of Brookhaven will oppose the motion filed by theCitizens Against Annexation asking for additional time to file itsmotion for a rehearing on the annexation.

The motion simply asks for the deadline to file an appeal to bepushed back two weeks from the current April 19 deadline. Thiswould mean the request for a rehearing would be due on or beforeMay 3.

Sandra Gerald, spokesperson for the Citizens Against Annexation,said it was an issue of finding time to find funds.

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“The only thing I feel like I can tell you is that nothing haschanged. We are opposed to the annexation,” she said. “It’s likeeverything else the annexation has done for us, we’ve had to raisefunds to do whatever we had to do, and we need additionaltime.”

Gerald also implied the numbers of people involved with the moveto push back the date to file for a rehearing are a part of theconsideration.

“There are a lot of people involved,” she said. “There’s a lotto consider, and we need some more time.”

The objectors’ motion, though, is not well-received by the city,said City Attorney Joe Fernald.

“It’s not well-taken and it shouldn’t be granted,” he said.

City officials are expecting the final annexation ruling to comedown around April 26, which would mean the city would beginservicing the annexed areas by May 6.

“We will ask the court to move forward with the annexation,”Fernald said. “We feel this is a delay tactic to put off theannexation, and frankly, it has been delayed long enough.”

Fernald made it clear that the possibility of the additionallitigation is part of the reason the city has had to be vague inits answers to the public and the county when questions about theannexation are being raised.

“We can’t be specific until we have the final ruling,” saidFernald. “We will not speculate on these things. We will speak oncewith one voice and with finality.”

Fernald said he felt that the speed with which the opinion camedown should send a message to the Citizens Against Annexation.

“There has never been an annexation opinion that has come downfaster than this,” he said. “For the case to be finalized and filedin January, we expected to get it back in eight months. We expectedit to take a lot more time, and the fact that it was this fastmakes a statement.”

Regarding annexation questions, Fernald also pointed out that alot of misinformation has circulated in the community aboutconsequences of an annexation situation. Fernald especially citedquestions about water wells in the county, which will actually begrandfathered in.

“The misinformation about what’s going to happen is just nottrue,” he said. “We just don’t know where it’s coming from.”

The city has taken a firm stand, said Fernald, that it is infavor of continuing the progress of the annexation as it ismoving.

“Now that the opinion has been rendered, the city would like tomove forward with all deliberate speed to implement the annexationand to provide services effectively to all members of the city,” hesaid.