Johnson City commission passes Gray de-annexation on first reading

JOHNSON CITY (Tenn)– Homeowners in Gray are one step closer to being out of Johnson City.

Johnson City commissioners passed a proposal on first reading Thursday, to reduce a section of Gray out of the city limits.

Several homeowners in the Suncrest area of Gray have requested to leave the city since their properties were annexed in 2012.

They say they do not want to be part of the city limits, and even made a formal request to city commissioners for de-annexation.

Homeowner Kimberly Mason said she is tired of paying both city and county property taxes.

“Where we were used to paying one fee, we ended up paying double,” she said.

The ordinance calls for the de-annexation of 38.6 acres, impacting 80 homes and an estimated 145 people. If it is passed Johnson City would lose more than $56,000 a year in property and state shared taxes.

If the de-annexation is approved, the 80 households will have to pay extra for sewer, water and utilities.

“I would rather pay more for utilities, than double my taxes,” said Mason.

Johnson City Mayor Clayton Stout said more research needs to be done before they make a final decision.  He said some people in Gray want to stay in the city limits.

“We’re seeing emails everyday of people wanting to stay in, and don’t want to get out,” said Stout.

Mayor Stout said he and the commission also have to look at a bigger picture, and the vote could have ramifications that extend outside the small community of Gray.

“We’re not just talking about Suncrest,” said Stout. “You have to look at what are the future ramifications going to be for our city as we move forward in the future.”

The ordinance must pass two more readings, including a public hearing, before it would become law. Right now, the public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 18th at 6 p.m.  in the commission chambers at the Municipal and Safety Building located at 601 E. Main Street.

Copyright 2016 WJHL.  All rights reserved.

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