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



The committee will consist of seven members: Mayor Othell Phillips, a representative of the council, Fire Chief Clint Doss, Police Chief Mike Walker, Public Works Director Jeff Holliyan, Ryant, and the president of the new board of education, which has yet to be named.

Hogeland said that when the committee receives an application, the various members will determine how much it will cost each department to provide services to that property.

“Is it going to affect the school? Can your school handle the amount of students that will be brought in with this [application]?... Fire chief, you tell me what it would cost if we annex this area. Police chief, you tell me what it would cost.” Hogeland said.

The move brought a rebuke from Tracy Calvert, one of the leaders of the MO Matters group that sought to annex the entire area of Mt. Olive whose schoolchildren are zoned to attend Bragg Middle and Gardendale High schools — students who will be outside the new city school system’s boundaries.

“This is a direct contradiction from a city council who told us on numerous occasions, ‘We care about Mt. Olive and we want those children to attend this school,’” Calvert said. “We have tried every method under the sun possible to create paths. We started by trying to annex all of [the area], and for reasons they said no. Now people who are are contiguous to the city are trying through their legal and rightful method of annexation, by paying and doing what they are supposed to do — the city has said, ‘We can’t honor that either.’ So my frustration is — ‘Don’t tell us you want us.’”

Craig Goolsby, another leader of MO Matters, said he was “perplexed” that the city said there was no policy on annexation, “when there’s one on their website today.”

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