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inhabitants of the annexed areas certain rights and protections. Sheriffs, firemen and other first responders demonstrated to the satisfaction of the General Assembly that some poor annexation practices create safety risks and undue burdens. One poor annexation practice is the creation of “enclaves” or holes of unincorporated areas within a city. Te Arkansas Geographic Informa- tion Office showed that the problem with enclaves is widespread. Tey discovered a total of 258 enclaves in 87 cities. Other states have enacted these laws requiring cities to annex with-

out creating enclaves. Current law, A.C.A. 14-40-501 et seq., already allows cities by ordinance to eliminate existing enclaves. Act 1071 will prevent the creation in the future of more enclaves. Te General Assem- bly responded to these problems by passing SB 530 sponsored by Sena- tor Bill Sample, now Act 1071. Act 1071 directs cites in the future to an- nex lands that are contiguous and “in a manner that does not create enclaves.” Similarly, first responders are tasked unnecessarily where a city annexes small strips along highways for miles outside the actual city growth area or part of a street.

Tese strips and part of road an- nexation practices like enclaves cre- ate: serious safety risks for the general public; confusion for dispatchers and first responders; result in waste of first responder resources; and cause mul- tiple law enforcement agencies or fire departments to respond to the same emergency. Some cities will annex ar- eas of commercial businesses far from the actual city growth for revenue pur- poses or annex small strips which en- compass only part of a street. Te General Assembly responded to these problems by passing SB 531 sponsored by Senator Bill Sample, now Act 1072. During a meeting of the County Judges Association of Ar- kansas (CJAA) last fall the vast majority of county judges reported that the poor practice of strip annexations of businesses only and parts of streets is widespread and statewide. As per Act 1072 annexations by elections under A.C.A. 14-40-302 will in the future require that lands annexed not just be a set of businesses, but affirmatively include resi- dences (except as agreed upon by the mayor and county judge) and that annexations encompass the entire width of a public road right-of-way (except as agreed upon by the mayor and county judge). County judges preside over voluntary annexations which are submit-

ted by petition to county court. Unfortunately, it is commonplace for parties to appear at the county court hearing and assert that signatures on the petitions are forgeries. Contesting signatures can result in years of litigation. Section 2 of

Act 1071 now requires the signatures on the petition be attested. Tis will help catch fraud before the county court. It is also common for citizens that have lands annexed by election or

by voluntary annexation to not receive city services scheduled within the three years required by law. Section 2 of Act 1072 partially addressed this issue by making ex-


need of attention by the General Assembly. Te General Assembly


plicit that a voluntary petition for annexation in county court may in- clude the petitioner’s (understanding of) the schedule of services to be provided to the area by the city. If the city objects to the schedule of services in the petition, they can appear at the annexation hearing and object; or when the order of annexation is forwarded to the city, the city can refuse to enter an ordinance confirming the annexation. Ten the petitioner can thereupon decide to adjust or delete the schedule of services accordingly or decide not to pursue the annexation. SB 861 sponsored by Senator Missy Irvin and Representative Micah

hese areas of Arkan- sas law were in serious

responded and enacted the laws ... to empower landowners. Tese ac- complishments will hopefully be as lasting as they are substantial.

Neal, now Act 1502 of 2013, provides explicit rights to the inhabitants of the annexed areas including having: all rights of citizens of the city; the right to have the scheduled services extended within three years after the annexation is final; specific written notice in all annexations setting forth a plan on completing the extension of services; and a written notice of the rights of the inhabitants to seek de- tachment. Act 1502 to be codified as A.C.A. 14-40-2201 further provides that starting March 1, 2014 and each suc- cessive year thereafter a city shall file an annual written notice with the city clerk and county clerk. Te notice shall describe any annexations that have be- come final in the past eight years and include: the schedule of services to be provided; identify the services to date provided; identify the services to date not provided; and if the services on the schedule of services have not been provided in the requisite three years re- quired by law the notice shall include the rights of the inhabitants of the an- nexed area to seek detachment. “De- tachment” is a proceeding in county

court to return the lands annexed back into the unincorporated areas of the county. Act 1502 also provides that; “A city or incorporated town shall not

proceed with annexation elections if there are pending scheduled ser- vices that have not been provided in the requisite three years man- dated by law.

Tese laws on annexation will greatly enhance citizens’ rights and their access to information and documentation of the status of exten- sion of the scheduled services. Te law even places a moratorium upon further annexation, where a city fails to discharge the duty to extend services to the annexed lands within the three years. Once education and compliance to these laws is well-known, best practices by cities in annexations will be the rule. Te creation of enclaves and annexation of small strips or parts of

roads will be fewer. Failing to extend scheduled services in the time required by law, should become a rare exception. Tese areas of Arkansas law were in serious need of attention by the

General Assembly. Te General Assembly responded and enacted the laws referenced above to empower landowners. Tese accomplishments will hopefully be as lasting as they are substantial.


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