I Want Out

Apparently that's the opinion of at least one Lenoir City resident. In a recent News Herald article, it was reported that back in March of 2006, Lenoir City resident and former city employee, John R. Johnson, sent a request to the city asking that his property be de-annexed from the city. Apparently Mr. Johnson doesn't feel he has received many of the benefits that are suppose to come with annexation. Mr. Johnson's property was annexed into the city back in November of 1999 at his request but he has yet to receive all the basic city services. Mr. Johnson, like all city property owners pays about 75% higher property taxes than do county property owners.

This is not the first time the city has failed to provide required city services in a timely manner to annexed areas. The Pine Top/Highland Park community went more than twenty years after annexation before receiving sewer service. This brings up an interesting question.

Lenoir City has annexed more territory under the Brookshire regime than any other time in it's history. However with those annexations come certain requirements the city must meet. It's called, plan of services.

Tennessee Code Annotated, 6-51-102
(b)(1) Before any territory may be annexed under this section by a municipality, the governing body shall adopt a plan of services establishing at least the services to be delivered and the projected timing of the services. The plan of services shall be reasonable with respect to the scope of services to be provided and the timing of the services.

(2) The plan of services shall include, but not be limited to: police protection, fire protection, water service, electrical service, sanitary sewer service, solid waste collection, road and street construction and repair, recreational facilities and programs, street lighting, and zoning services.

(3) The plan of services shall include a reasonable implementation schedule for the delivery of comparable services in the territory to be annexed with respect to the services delivered to all citizens of the municipality.

(5) A municipality may not annex any other territory if the municipality is in default on any prior plan of services.

Part (5) clearly states that the city cannot annex any additional property if it is has not provided services to previously annexed property.

If the city has failed to provide the required services to Mr. Johnson's property could that nullify other property annexed by the city such as Creekwood or The Town Creek project or all the other properties annexed since 1999?

Apparently the city has no intentions of allowing Mr. Johnson to succeed from the city. Citing fears of mass defections, city officials fear if they let Johnson out it could set a president and many others will want out. Sound familiar?

Shortly after World War II there was a city in Europe that refused to let it's citizens out.