Johnson City strikes again…the hungry land-grabbers have decided to annex more property from Washington County, much to the dismay of those being forced into the city. I thank God every day for living so far out in the county that no one wants our property – yet – and I will continue to move as far as possible from hungry little cities like our very own Johnson City (and Kingsport, too).

At last night’s city commission meeting, the Johnson City Commissioners voted to annex portions of the Boone’s Creek area, pieces of Carroll Creek Rd, and Bobby Hicks Highway. There was one gentleman whose farm had been in his family for 100 years…I can certainly understand why he would not take my approach (moving to keep away from the land-grabbers), and I am thankful that he dodged this bullet; his property was exempted.

One gentleman, Cecil Laws, wasn’t so lucky. His business, Minifibers, Inc. on Boones Creek Rd. will be annexed…and he will be left with an additional $25,000 per year in property taxes. This reminds me of a comment by Andrew Dier at last night’s Young Republicans dinner: small businesses would flourish if government would just get out of the way! Johnson City claims it is trying to help the city grow by annexing; however, there is a good chance that their scheme will cause many small businesses to close their doors due to the unbearable financial burden.

Commissioner Ricky Mohon said, “There’s gonna be some pain right now from these people. … That’s part of doing business.” Commissioner Mohon, I have some news for you: You’re job is not to “do business,” it’s to represent your constituents well. I point to Timothy Hill’s favorite city-growth plan as a way to ensure that you, Mr. Mohon, can help your city grow without pulling people into the city against their will: CUT TAXES!!! I, and many others, would have very little problem living in the city if the taxes weren’t so unbearable. Why not make your city so attractive with low taxes that people actually want to move into the area? Then businesses like Minifibers, Inc. would be thrilled about opening in the city – where else would they be able to operate with such a low tax burden? Want to bring in revenue? Cut taxes. Want to make people hate you and move away from the city the first chance they get? Annex.

Maybe, just maybe, we will one day see an interest in local government by the people in our area and we will elect only those who oppose annexation. Until then, I suspect that there will be more land-grabbing by city commissions across the Tri-Cities. Watch out. You could be next.