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Bill would allow municipalities to annex areas draws concerns from Representatives

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Alabama.

Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

A bill that would increase municipalities ability to annex unincorporated areas surrounded by incorporated areas drew some concern from committee members on Tuesday.

The House County and Municipal Government Committee was host to a public hearing on Tuesday for Senate Bill 266.

Only certain municipalities can annex unincorporated areas that are enclosed within the incorporated areas currently.

The bill would allow for all municipalities to annex unincorporated areas if they are enclosed within incorporated areas. Annexing these unincorporated areas would first require that the land owners would have to sign off on the annexing before a decision was made.

The bill’s sponsor Senator Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham) said the bill came at the request of the Alabama League of Municipalities which represents 426 municipalities across Alabama.

Coleman-Madison said the bill would not allow municipalities to declare eminent domain on these unincorporated areas.

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“This is not about eminent domain at all,” Coleman-Madison said.

She said the bill would not pass considering that the legislative session is ending within the week.

“We know it’s not going anywhere this year,” Coleman-Madison said.

She instead requested to hear what the committee members had to say about the bill. Some of the committee members expressed a concern of municipalities encroaching on the land of the more rural areas in Alabama.

Representative Jack Williams (R-Wilmer) staunchly opposed the bill because it would allow municipalities to expand into the rural areas of Alabama and encompass some farming areas.

This concern came after Coleman-Madison had used a personal example of living next to a pig farm as a reason why municipalities may need to annex areas.

“My problem is that the city moved to the country,” Williams said. “This is one bill that I would filibuster to the end.”

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Coleman-Madison said that she had worked with farmers on the bill and she had worked out their concerns.

Representative Chris Blackshear (R-Auburn) had other objections about the far-reaching effects the bill may have. He said the bill may be used by municipalities to take areas they don’t need.

The Farmer’s Federation, Alabama’s largest farm organization, has a standing position on annexing.

“We oppose annexation by extending city limits without consent of those to be incorporated into the city limits,” the Federation’s position.

The bill was not voted on by the committee.


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