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Auburn annexes 17 land islands

Faced with a standing-room-only crowd of hostile residents, the Auburn City Council on Thursday approved the annexation of 17 properties in Barrow County.

The vote was 3-1 with council members Charles Sewell, Linda Blechinger and Dorissa Shackelford voting in favor and Donna Scouten casting the dissenting vote.

In her push for a favorable vote, Shackelford said more sales taxes would come into the city while at the same time, the residents "would get a break on their water bills."

"The council is doing this to eliminate duplication of services," she said.

Mayor Harold Money said later he believes it was a good decision but that he would confine his comment to that.

The properties, in legal terms, are described as "islands," meaning they are part of Barrow County but contiguous to Auburn and/or the nearby city of Carl on all sides. Last week, Carl annexed eight of the 25 properties Auburn was considering, dropping the town's find list to 17.

Many homeowners expressed strong opposition to the prospect of being made part of Auburn's city limits.

"I don't want to be in the city of Auburn," said Timothy Davis who lives at 48 Aubry Road. "I want no more regulations or more taxes."

Donald Tuggle, who has lived at 174 County Line Road since 1970, said he is "totally opposed to the move."

"I'm going to be paying taxes twice for services received," he said. "I would have a vote, and I want you to remember that."

His remarks drew loud applause.

One of the city's main arguing points came in the area of services, particularly regarding the Police Department which must depend on Barrow County having the turn at police calls. This way, residents needing the police would no longer have to wait for the Barrow County Sheriff's Department to answer, then call on Auburn's force if necessary.

After the vote, Police Chief Fred Brown told a reporter, "I'm just glad they think highly of my department, and I'll try to keep it that way."

In other business, Sewell announced that groundbreaking ceremonies for Auburn's new library will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, behind the water tower in the public works department.