What Would Happen If The City Were To Unincorporate?

This is the press release I received from the city this afternoon. All bold is for emphasis and is mine.

Petition Circulating to “Unincorporate” City

(La Vergne, June 28, 2011) On the tail of a recent city property tax increase, several citizens have spearheaded a petition campaign to unincorporate the City of La Vergne. This information is designed to describe what could occur as the petition moves forward.

1. After signatures of La Vergne registered voters are gathered, the Rutherford County Election Commission would verify they are eligible signatures.
2. The petition must “pray” for a surrender of the charter and must be accompanied by a cash bond to be posted by the petitioners to cover the cost of the election. Election cost varies depending on the number of precincts participating, how long (one day or early voting), how much advertising is required for legal notices, the number of workers needed, and other factors.
3. The special election results would be the will of a simple majority of voters.
4. If the measure does NOT pass, there is a four-year interval before it comes up again.
5. If the measure passes, in 60 days residents become a part of unincorporated Rutherford County.
6. All city workers would be dismissed.

7. A board of trustees would be named to handle the county takeover. According to the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), the board is typically the current elected officials serving the city.

8. The board of trustees would have 36 months to transition.
9. All city assets would be sold to pay city debts. Any unpaid debt would be the responsibility of residential property owners. City debt is now approximately $30 million. EXAMPLE: Sold city assets could decrease the debt owed by $10 million. This leaves $20 million in unpaid debt. Number of residential real property owners is 11,165, so the debt owed could be $1791.31 p/house owned.

10. The city’s ISO rating would increase, therefore home ownership property insurance would increase. The amount would be determined based on the new ISO rating.
11. Fire services may revert to a volunteer fire brigade or the current fire company may elect to charge a monthly or annual fee for services. This would be worked out by the trustees.

12. Police service would be handled by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

Mayor Senna Mosley says of the proposal, “The financial burden this will cause our citizens is far greater than the petitioners are saying. Property owners would be charged a special assessment to pay current city debts. All city employees would be terminated. Our police protection would be at the hands of the sheriff’s office. If the city charter is dissolved, our ISO rating will also go up which means our home owners insurance rates will increase.
“I am appalled that the petitioners care this little for our city, based solely on hearsay and not facts. You should always remember to be careful what you ask for.”

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