I am My Neighbor’s Keeper

North Carolina is somewhat unique in the region, heck, the country, as it relates to annexation laws.  North Carolina allows it’s cities to annex neighborhoods and developments without having to obtain the permission of those residents.  Further, there are no guidelines that the city must adhere to that could possibly allow this practice to help those folks who could really use it.  For example, when the city looks out over it’s borders and sees a new development being built, it can–and does–look into the nature of that development.  What is the mean value of the property?  What type of infrastructure facilities are being built into the development?  The roads and street that serve the development; are they being built in such a manner that would allow the city to assume them without additional cost?

And so it goes, each development has next to it’s name a score, or value.  If and when the city feels that it requores to expand it’s tax base, it just opens that dirty little black book and find the best fit.  And this best fit is the one that brings the most money into the city with the lowest political cost.  How do we know this is true?  Just look at the types of properties and neighborhoods that get annexed, and then look at those who don’t.  In fact, it’s these low value neighborhoods that aren’t brought into the fold even when they WANT to be annexed.

Proponents of this type of annexation will claim that the State’s cities are free of blight, that the services offered by the cities can expand and that, in general, the cities are much more “healthy”.  While it’s certainly true that more programs can be initiated when the tax base is in growth, it’s also true that many of those programs are unnecessary and grossly inefficient.  It’s always better to have less government than government thinks it needs.  So, if that government looks to increase it’s tax revenue, either through tax rate hikes or just more people paying taxes…beware.

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