The London City Council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance to annex property in north Corbin Thursday, despite the objection of Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus.
Razmus and City Manager Marlon Sams attended the meeting where the council was to vote on the ordinance that would annex from Exit 38 south along Interstate 75 and along West Cumberland Gap Parkway and Ky. 770. In addition, the former King’s truck stop property would be annexed.
“I would like it to be noted, that I am here to formally object!” Razmus shouted from the audience moments after London Mayor Troy Rudder announced the ordinance as the next item of business.
The City of Corbin has been unable to annex that area because of a state law that prevents a city from annexing into a county in which it was not originally chartered. Corbin was chartered in Whitley and Knox counties.
While the area is not in the city limits, the water and sewer lines that serve the area were installed by Corbin City Utilities.
“They are all over out there,” Sams said when asked where exactly the utility lines are located.
Razmus said she was not able to address the city council at the special called meeting.
The London City Council typically meets on the first Monday of each month. However, it did not hold that meeting because of the Labor Day Holiday, and instead scheduled Thursday’s meeting.
At a special called meeting, only items that are on the agenda may be discussed by the council.
However, Razmus provided The News Journal with the basis for objections to the proposed annexation.
- “The City of Corbin owns utility infrastructure for water and sewer services. The infrastructure is located within the confines of Tract 1.”
- “Because the City of Corbin owns utility infrastructure within the confines of Tract 1, the City of London should have provided the City of Corbin with notice of its intention to annex Tract 1.”
“KRS 81A.427 (3) requires that City of London notify the City of Corbin fourteen (14) days before the second reading of the ordinance expressing its intent to annex Tract 1.”
“The notice should have included the time, date and location of the seconding reading, a copy of the proposed ordinance, and should have informed the City of Corbin of its rights under KRS 81A.427.”
“The statue further provides that where a City owning utilities within a territory objects to the annexation, the City proposing the annexation may not proceed.”
The London City Council passed the first reading of the ordinance on Aug. 12.
The Corbin City Commission met in executive session at its regular monthly meeting on Aug. 19, after which it voted unanimously to retain an attorney in response.
After returning to regular session, the commissioners voted unanimously to authorize Patrick Hughes and his law firm to, “take the necessary legal actions on behalf of the City of Corbin, Kentucky to protect the interest of the City of Corbin, Kentucky related to and in response to the City of London, Kentucky’s intent and proposal to annex a portion to annex property which contains a portion of southern Laurel County, Kentucky…”
On Sept. 3, the Corbin City Commission approved a letter to be sent to the business owners in north Corbin notifying them that London’s action is illegal.
The letter, which was signed by Razmus, stated that Corbin has proposed a compromise to benefit the area and allow alcohol to be sold at businesses in the area, while placing it under the jurisdiction of Corbin Police and the Corbin Fire Department.
“This agreement would have been a win/win as occupational tax dollars would have been shared between Laurel County and the City of Corbin,” the letter stated. “Keep in mind, Laurel County occupational tax is already under an interlocal agreement with the city of London to share 70/30 in all taxes collected throughout the county, which allows the City of London to collect from Exit 29 as well.”
“This proposal was soundly refused with no basis for the decision,” the letter noted.
The City of Corbin is asking any businesses located on West Cumberland Gap Pkwy that would like to be considered for annexation into Corbin to please write a letter to the city stating such.
“If anyone would like to discuss the benefits of annexation into Corbin, we would welcome the opportunity to share our vision for this exit,” the letter states noting the city will never allow the City of London to annex on Corbin’s water or sewer lines.
“We instead are open to a compromise, which will allow for growth and mutual benefit of all parties,” the letter stated.