By Morgan Bryce
Members of the Smiths Station City Council breezed through their meeting last Tuesday night.
The one business item on the council’s agenda was a de-annexation petition submitted by Smiths Station resident Charles Harper, owner of land located along Lee Road 243.
Following the signing of House Bill 373 into law by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Harper is among 199 other property owners whose land was annexed in to the Smiths Station city limits. The legislation expanded the city’s current borders by 400 acres and 740 parcels, according to several media interviews done by Mayor Bubba Copeland.
Harper said his reason for submitting the petition stemmed over concerns of increased costs of pick-up services and property tax rates for his land, which is now considered to be a part of Smiths Station.
“I’ve owned that land all these years now, and it was in Lee County. I want to stay in Lee County, I want no part of being in the Smiths Station city limits,” Harper said. “I’m not against Smiths Station, but I just don’t want my land rezoned without my authority. I fought for my land and bought my land … it was just mudholes when I got there, and I’ve done everything by the book and kept it clean.”
After hearing Harper’s concerns, Copeland rebutted, stating that Harper’s cost of pick-up service increase would be minimal and that the city’s recent 5-mill tax plan adoption would not go into effect until 2020.
“…the property tax situation will not affect you until the end of 2020, because of you being annexed in,” Copeland said.
Morris Jackson, Place 2 Councilman and chairman of Smiths Station’s annexation committee, read a recommendation stating their opinion that the council deny the petition, which they later did in a 5-0 decision.
The council’s next planned meeting is July 24, with a work session beginning at 5:30 p.m. E.S.T. They meet the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Smiths Station Government Center, which is located at 2336 Lee Road 430.