Legislative offensive on Warrior ordinance launched on two other fronts

While the lawsuit filed by the Blount County district attorney awaits a court date (see story, page A1), two further efforts have been set in motion to thwart the tax ordinance passed by Warrior last month and affecting this county.

Probate Judge David Standridge said he had met with the Blount County legislative delegation last week to craft a new bill to be introduced in this session aimed at Warrior’s extension of taxing authority into its police jurisdiction. Sen. Scott Beason and state Rep. Elwyn Thomas head the delegation.

The legislation would explicitly prohibit encroachment by any municipality outside the county into Blount County by way of its police jurisdiction for the purpose of taxing or otherwise regulating Blount County territory or citizens.

“I met with our delegation and we worked with the legislative reference service trying to get the wording right where it would apply to situations like this wherever they might arise around the county,” Standridge said.

Standridge said the county maintains that the intent of constitution amendment 806 was to cover exactly the kind of situation that has occurred with Warrior. That amendment however refers explicitly to “annexation.” The new legislation would make the intent clear by adding language to include any powers that could be extended by way of the police jurisdiction that don’t involve outright annexation into the corporate limits of a municipality.

The other major initiative involves the self-annexation into the town of Hayden being pursued by many in the west Blount area within Warrior’s police jurisdication, as well as by a number of citizens outside that area, fearing future initiatives by Warrior to expand farther into Blount County.

The effort involves a separate legislative act that would also be introduced by the Blount County legislators. The act would enable the annexation of noncontiguous property into the corporate limits of Hayden citizens wishing to avoid the extension of any muncipal powers of Warrior.

Warrior could not extend such powers into areas already within the limits of another municipality. Citizens can avail themselves of such protection by filling out a form requesting annexation into Hayden and submitting a legal description of their property.

Jeff Sherrer, Hayden town attorney, is collecting request forms and preparing them for submission. As of yesterday, Standridge estimated the number at close to 400.