MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It's a fight Memphis city leaders said was started by a trio of Republican state lawmakers. It all revolves around annexation. The city council and the mayor believe the future of Memphis is at stake. Now they're looking to annex a large portion of east Shelby County.
"We're not in this to try to make a point," said Mayor A C Wharton.
But that's certainly what a Memphis city council committee did when they approved plans to move forward to annex a large area of east Shelby County.
"We're doing what we feel is in the long term interest of Memphis," Wharton told abc24.com.
The move comes after what Memphis city leaders saw as a power play by State Senator Mark Norris and Representative Curry Todd both of Collierville and Representative Ron Lollar of Bartlett. The trio introduced legislation that would eliminate the city's claim to the area for annexation and a second bill that would allow residents to vote on whether they want to be annexed.
"We're going to have to fight it out, but it's not personal its business," city council member Shea Flinn told abc24.com.
However things are certainly personal for homeowners like John Bogan who attended that committee meeting. Bogan wants no parts of being annexed by Memphis.
"If it's a part of Memphis it will be like Hickory Hill and every other part of Memphis. Values go down,” said Bogan.
There's also the issue of cost. A quick annexation could hit Memphis hard. The city would be responsible for providing services like, police, fire and trash. The city is already facing a budget shortfall topping $40-million. However Mayor Wharton told abc24.com it has to be done to protect the future of Memphis.
"It's better for us to do this particularly in these days of uncertainly and try to protect the city of Memphis,” said Wharton.
The full council has to vote three more times before the annexation is final. The council is set to hold the first reading of the ordinance February 7, 2012. A second reading February 14th and a third reading would happen no latter than February 21st.