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Ahoskie annexation approved

AHOSKIE – It’s official…the Town of Ahoskie will grow by 330 parcels.

At their monthly meeting here Tuesday, the Ahoskie Town Council approved an ordinance that extends the corporate limits in each direction of the current town limits.

Upon a motion from Councilman Ronald Gating (seconded by O.S. “Buck” Suiter Jr.), the council voted 5-0 to approve the ordinance, thus ending a year-plus discussion over this issue.

Along the way, the town has conducted the required public information meetings and public hearings regarding annexation.

Per the ordinance, the effective date of annexation of Colonial Acres, Ahoskie-Cofield Road/Willoughby Road, NC 42 West and NC 561 East (Harrellsville Highway) is June 30, 2009. At that time, the town is required by state law to immediately make available police, fire and garbage/debris pick-up services. Additionally, the town has 12 months to start construction and 24 months to complete the water/sewer infrastructure to the newly annexed areas.

The infrastructure issue was a key topic of discussion during the months of planning. In August, after hearing

emotionally-charged comments during a public information session, council members approved two “citizen-friendly” measures. In a unanimous vote, council members agreed to not charge the new town residents with water/sewer connection fees as well as delay the effective date of annexation until June of next year.

At the August information session, Ahoskie’s potential newest citizens expressed great concern over the connection fees, priced at $965 (water) and $600 (sewer). They were also upset that, with what was then a proposed Dec. 14, 2008 ordinance effective date, their first town tax bills would be for 18 months since the town’s fiscal year begins in July.

The town will pick-up the tab for purchasing and installing all water/sewer lines to the annexed areas as well as the connection fee/meter costs. However, the property owner will still be responsible for connecting their residence to the meter.