Johnson City commission approves de-annexation in Gray

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — The city of Johnson City is about to get a little smaller, after a community won its campaign to be removed from the city limits.

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

Thursday, the commission undid the annexation, in response to requests from most of the 80 homeowners in the area who were tired of paying both city and county taxes.

“We felt like we didn’t get any benefits from being annexed,” said homeowner, Kimberly Mason.

Mayor Clayton Stout was the only person to vote against the de-annexation.JC

“I think it’s a bad policy…” he said. “My concern is that it will continue to spiral and it will continue to hurt the city’s interest.”

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

“City taxpayers have invested significant dollars over the last 18 years for city growth,” said Mayor Stout.

City manager Pete Peterson brought up the issue that under Tennessee state law, the people being annexed may have to pay a proportionate share of Johnson City’s debt.

But commissioners unanimously voted not to enforce that law, agreeing it is unnecessary for the small community in Gray to pay the unpaid debt. However, now the city of Johnson City will be left to pay that sum of money.

“There will be fewer people making debt service payments on the debt of the city as a result of this de-annexation,” said Peterson.

Peterson said Johnson City will have to wait 75 days before the de-annexation is final in order to give those who might be opposed time to call for a referendum.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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