North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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March 17, 2014

Gardendale council sets up annexation committee to approve new applications

Move draws fire from Mt. Olive residents wanting to be part of new school system

GARDENDALE — The Gardendale City Council has established a new committee to help control any possible influx of annexation requests that may come about because of the city's new school system.

The annexation committee was approved unanimously by the council in Monday night's regular session, and wasn't without controversy. One resident of Mt. Olive, whose property is adjacent to the city limits, asked the council if the annexation application he and nine neighbors just filed would be considered under previous policies, or new ones.

Johnathan Wolford, who lives on Gary Drive just off Shady Grove, filed the applications with the city last week. He started the effort to get his neighbors to annex several weeks ago, and found out that the city would require a fire hydrant to be installed. Wolford said the group paid about $11,000, mainly in six years' worth of fire dues required as compensation to the Mt. Olive Fire District; another $2,500 was to be paid for the hydrant.

Now Wolford is wondering if the applications will be considered anytime soon, given that the properties are not in those included in the first phase of the new annexation method.

"I paid a $250 application fee as well, which hasn't been cashed," Wolford said, adding that he was told when he filed the application that changes in the process might be coming.

The properties in the first phase of those that will be considered for annexation are on streets to be listed by Inspections Director Robert Ryant, which will be released Tuesday morning. Council president Stan Hogeland said that the first phase will primarily be streets where some properties are already in the city and some not due to previous individual annexations. Put another way, the first phase would not extend the perimeter of the city limits appreciably, and therefore would be easiest to provide city services for since they are all but in the city already.

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