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Barrow County Commissioners denounce Auburn's proposed island annexations

WINDER - County Commissioners took a hard stand Tuesday against Auburn's proposed annexations of nearly two dozen county islands. The stern resolution stating their opposition is about all they can do, said Chairman Doug Garrison.

"The Barrow County Board of Commissioners calls upon the City of Auburn to immediately cease its efforts to annex these properties ... against the wishes ... of the owners," reads the resolution.

In October, Auburn city attorney Jack Wilson mailed 25 letters to property owners informing them of Auburn's intention to annex their spots of county land surrounded by city property. Furious owners appealed to County Commissioners and State Rep. Terry England.

"I have had more feedback on this issue than any other in my four year term," said Commissioner David Dyer.

Ga. House Bill 489 gives cities the right to annex islands within their boundaries. Commissioner Roger Wehunt suggested Auburn treat those property owners with consideration, if they proceed with the annexations.

"Auburn needs to clean up its islands, but if they are doing it against their (property owners') will, then they shouldn't have to pay city taxes on that property as long as they own it," Wehunt said.

Several islands targeted for annexation bordered the city of Carl. In a special called council meeting Thursday, Carl council members agreed to annex those properties, totaling an estimated 50 - 100 acres. Carl does not tax its

citizens.

Auburn City Council members are scheduled to vote on the proposed annexations at 7 p.m. Thursday.

"It's unfortunate that we really don't have any power on this," Garrison said.

Board appointments

Commissioners announced three board appointments Tuesday:

Randy Wolfe, Leisure Services, district 1; Joe Goodman, Planning Commission, district 1; Johnny Wendell, Airport Authority, district 4.