Welcome to Hamilton County Residents
2014 Update: Annexation by Ordinance may be a thing of the past!
Thank you to grass roots groups across the state for urging our lawmakers to do the right thing.
-Kyle Holden, Founder HCRAA
April 2, 2014 House and Senate pass new annexation laws
The residents of area 4, in mutual agreement with the city of Chattanooga have reached a compromise regarding the annexation of their homes. After 3 years of valiant resistance, it became evident to the residents of this area that the Tennessee laws regarding annexation are extremely skewed to favor the municipality and severely restrict the rights of the individual homeowner.
The decision to accept
the agreement was based on several factors including changes in annexation law
as well as case law and interpretation by the appeals court. Historically,
the appeals court has sided with the municipality in the majority of cases that
it has heard. Their interpretation of the law is such that if there is ANY
benefit to being annexed, the annexation is legitimate. This means if you
get the benefit of anything from sewers to a street light added, you are
benefiting. We feel that this is not within the sprit of the law that
dictates that the annexation must be for the health and welfare of those
Had these residents chosen to go to court and lost, they would have appealed and the appellate court would have stayed the lower courts decision. If the residents would have won, the city would have appealed and the same appellate court would most likely have sided with the city yet again. 30 days after the appellate court's decision, they would have been on the city's tax roll effective this year most likely.
Under the agreement,
residents will be annexed 4 years after the original annexation date. This
means that these residents have benefited by saving FOUR YEARS worth of property
taxes and other city fees that they would have been paying had HCRAA not acted
as we did in trying to fight these cases. The property in area 4 was an easy
target for the city as the city has very little to provide as far as
infrastructure- they already had lights, sewers, sidewalks, etc. It was a
difficult case to make in this instance.
In most areas from the original annexations of 2009, affected residents that have donated to HCRAA.org have received a return on their investment. Many residents donated between $100 and $500 or more. Assuming that city taxes are $1,200 per homeowner per year, the average homeowner has saved at LEAST $4,800 that would have been paid in property taxes in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. This is CASH left in their bank accounts thanks to the resolve of their neighbors who stepped up to fight for their property rights.
What will happen with HCRAA.org? We will continue to monitor future annexations to maintain our mission statement of assisting property owners in Hamilton County facing annexation by the city of Chattanooga. Every area is different and faces a new set of circumstances that may or may not make a good candidate for opposing any action the city may take. Some areas require no infrastructure at all, others require roads, sewers, new water mains, fire hydrants, etc. We will remain vigilant in our efforts to assert what few rights property owners still have and urge everyone to call and write to your state congressperson or state senator and urge them to restore the rights of property owners, abolish annexation by ordinance, and re-establish equality in the state's annexation code.
HCRAA Donate Today!
Is your home affected? Click here for the maps.
We are a community action group formed in August 2009 as a non-profit corporation in the state of Tennessee in response to annexation efforts initiated by the city of Chattanooga under direction from Mayor Ron Littlefield. Using a decade old, state mandated document entitled the Master Interlocal Agreement, Mayor Littlefield contends that the city of Chattanooga is entitled to and charged with the annexation of thousands of residents living inside the Urban Growth Boundary.
As county residents, we face an 89% increase in property taxes (during the nation's worst financial environment since 1929) for services which residents already have. We enjoy our county government and find that the services the city may provide are not worth the increase in taxes relative to our expenses for garbage collection, fire protection and sanitation. The city, faced with budget shortfalls, understaffed police department, understaffed fire departments, city mandated storm water fees, and countless other problems cannot afford to annex these areas. City officials are quoted as stating that the cost of annexation will be recovered by the increase in tax revenue. The city cannot afford to provide these services without the revenue it will generate, and the estimated costs of providing the services are more than the tax revenues generated.
State law does not allow for annexation for the basis of revenue generation. We have countless examples in print, on television and on radio where city officials have clearly stated that these annexations were required for revenue and to increase the city's population before the 2010 census to generate more state and federal grant money.
The city of Chattanooga has failed to provide promised and required services in previous annexations. This is an additional requirement for an annexation to be valid. The city must bring all previous annexations up to the same level of service as the rest of the city before taking on more property. We have documented cases where sewers and sanitation have not been provided and streets have not been maintained.
In late 2009 HCRAA, Inc. brought about the first and only lawsuits against the city of Chattanooga assisting aggrieved property owners to assert their property rights under state law. We have retained Tennessee's most feared attorney in annexation issues, David Buuck from Knoxville, who has an over 15 year track record successfully fighting annexation cases in the Knoxville area to assist property owners in this fight at no cost. HCRAA depends solely on donations from affected and/or interested citizens to cover what could be over 1/2 million dollars in court costs and attorney fees. Although this number sounds insurmountable, it is less than $300 per affected homeowner. We need your support today to keep up the fight for these residents. Because of our actions in facilitating lawsuits in over 10 geographic areas, we have saved property owners a minimum of NOW THREE years worth of city property taxes.
Please take a moment to browse our site and see exactly why annexation is a bad idea for the city residents as well as reasons why county residents are opposed to this hostile takeover of our land and our sovereignty.
HCRAA Annexation Update Door Hangers
Updated 5/17/2012 by Kyle Holden