Many Oak Island residents are breathing a sigh of relief after annexation was voted down.
Town council voted to drop the proposal Tuesday night to annex some 1,600 residents within the Long Beach corridor between Highway 211 and the Oak Island Bridge.
Residents in the Sea Pines community say they didn’t want to be annexed in the first place. “It’s basically forcing people to do things they don’t want to do. It’s unfair,” said Mike Murray.
With annexation would have come some benefits. Residents would have received Oak Island fire and police services, road improvements and debris pick up.
The down side for residents, property tax rates would have gone up by 14 cents.
Members of the community say the town has no business in their neighborhood. “We got water, we got sewer, trash pick up everything we need. We have the sheriff’s department taking care of us. The police department from Oak Island, they don’t have enough people to take care of us over here,” said James Miller.
Members of the Sea Pines community went so far as to file suit against the town to stop forced annexation.
Mayor Johnie Vereen and council member John Ramsey say they eventually understand why residents were so against it.
“It’s one thing to ask you to come with me, it’s another thing when I tie a rope around your neck and drag you over there and that’s what we were doing,” said Vareen.
“There seems to be more ‘anti’ about it than for it and we just felt right to let them make the choice,” added John Ramsey.
If the long beach corridor had become part of Oak Island, it would have generated between 80 and 100 dollars per household for the town.
Mayor Vereen said the cost of providing services to residents and the amount of revenue taxes would bring, wouldn’t have added up to much of a gain for the town.
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