Senate delays de-annexation bill vote

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The de-annexation bill will not be voted on today.

It was scheduled to be voted on by the Tennessee Senate Monday, but it was re-referred to the Senate State and Local Government Committee.

“I’m glad the Senate decided to send the deannexation bill to committee for further review. I look forward to working with members of the committee and all senators to educate them on the drastic impact the bill could have in Memphis and our region,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Monday in a statement.

Rep. G.A. Hardaway had hoped to delay a vote.

"Whatever it is that happens, if it applies to Shelby County I am going to fight it because it would be unconstitutional," Hardaway said.

The de-annexation bill would allow areas annexed by Memphis since 1998 to hold referendums to de-annex themselves. It would include the South Cordova area as well as the Windyke and Southwind neighborhoods.

Hardaway said the bill would be unfair to annexed property owners who want city amenities.

"How are we going to allow their neighbors to move in and at a later date decide we are going to take you out with us and void benefits from the city whether library or services for police and fire?" Hardaway said.

Strickland said last week the city stands to lose nearly $80 million in tax revenue a year if those areas leave the city.

"The effects on the City of Memphis and surrounding areas could be devastating," Strickland said.

Last week Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said he doesn't quite agree.

"I don't like to wave the bloody shirt until I know more details. So I'm not going to say it's devastating until we research the impact," Luttrell said.

Last week State Sen. Lee Harris of Memphis ordered a legal opinion from the state attorney general's office on the bill.

"This train is moving fast and becoming very devastating for the City of Memphis. Can you imagine if  they go back before 1998? I was raised in Whitehaven and that annexed. Are they going back that far?" Harris said.

Whatever the outcome in the senate, most agree the de-annexation debate will likely end up in court.

Several Memphis City Council members traveled to Nashville today, including Kemp Conrad, Worth Morgan and Philip Spinosa.

Earlier this afternoon Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey said he would not vote in favor of the de-annexation bill.

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