NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee House passed a bill allowing residents of six cities, including Memphis, to deannex their communities.
House Bill 779 passed 68-25 Monday night.
It’s now headed to the Senate floor where it could be voted on as early as Thursday.
In the Senate, it is known as SB 749 and is co-sponsored by Sen. Brian Kelsey.
“I am disappointed in the House vote. But we will continue to share with members of the Senate the facts about the bill’s impact, including the devastating effects it could have not only on Memphis but on our entire region,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland in a statement.
Governor Bill Haslam told the Knoxville News Sentinel Mayor Strickland has called him “two or three times to express his concerns about the impact.”
Haslam is concerned the bill only allows deannexation from six Tennessee cities including Memphis, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Knoxville, Johnson City and Cornersville.
Strickland said the bill could cost the city more than 100,000 residents, $64 million in property tax revenue, $15 million in sales tax revenue, and $28 million in residential property tax.
Strickland has called the bill potentially devastating.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell pointed out it would affect fire services, the Sheriff’s Office, the 911 communications system and taxes, but he said the county could handle the responsibility and the cost.
“County government is very financially stable right now. We are resilient and nimble enough, we can move quickly we need to, and we’ll be prepared for whatever the citizens decide,” Luttrell said.
Some of the recent communities annexed by Memphis include South Cordova, Wyndyke and Southwind.
Those who want to deannex say their areas should never have been absorbed into the city.
They point out a doubling of property taxes.
Some also say they were forced to pay for services they don’t want to receive.
Residents in areas that were annexed after May 1, 1998, may petition for a referendum.
Only those in the annexed area would be allowed to vote.
Rep. Steve McManus, who represents Cordova, is one of the sponsors.