Valdosta Addresses Annexation Comments

| December 2, 2016

Valdosta City Hall

VALDOSTA – Officials with the City of Valdosta released a statement Thursday seeking to clarify the topic of annexation in reply to comments officials have received regarding the Service Delivery Stratefy agreement with Lowndes County.

Annexation of property is a legal process outlined in state law and is separate from service delivery.  The SDS addresses the delivery of services for a county and its cities.  Annexation of property begins with the property owner making a decision to seek annexation from the unincorporated area into a municipality.  The request of the property owner then goes before the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission for a recommendation, followed by action by the county government and finally the appropriate city government.  Typically property owners wish to annex their property when they feel it is in their best interest to do so.  Cities cannot annex unincorporated property without the permission and at the request of a property owner.  Furthermore, annexation is not part of the proposed SDS agreement.

Many years ago the state of Georgia passed legislation allowing unincorporated “islands”, which are pockets of unincorporated properties surrounded by a city, to be annexed by right.  In 2006, a number of unincorporated island properties were annexed.  In that particular case, the Lowndes County 911 Advisory Board and the Lowndes County Board of Health supported the request for the city to annex the islands due to confusion about dispatching public safety agencies and its effect on response times as well as soil types and septic tanks in those island areas which were being affected by new state regulations.  This was a one-time annexation and, since such islands no longer exist in Lowndes County, this is no longer a concern.

All five of the cities in Lowndes County have or will pass this week a resolution requesting an extension of the SDS agreement until June 30, 2017.  The cities are requesting Lowndes County likewise place the request for an extension on their Commission agenda and vote for the extension.  The extension assures that no local government and no local citizen is harmed while the SDS process as outlined in state law is completed.

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