A group of Mount Olive residents want to be annexed into Gardend - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

A group of Mount Olive residents want to be annexed into Gardendale

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Mount Olive's future could come down to a vote.

City and state leaders believe that may be the fairest way to decide whether Mount Olive should be annexed into Gardendale. Sunday night, they heard from residents who want to join the city and its new school district.

Those who oppose annexation met with lawmakers last week. But Sunday night, those for it wanted city and state leaders to hear the other side. Parents are concerned about their children changing schools and they're worried about property value.

As the city of Gardendale moves forward on putting a new school board in place many parents in this room worry about the future of their children. Dozens living in Mount Olive, an unincorporated part of Jefferson County, have children attending schools in Gardendale and they don't want that to change.

Cathy Maple says, If we don't choose to partially annex into Gardendale. we won't be able to go and we'll be at the mercy of Jefferson County to send us to which school they want to."

Craig Goolsby, a Mount Olive parent, says more than 500 children will be displaced once the new school system begins. He's worried property value will also be affected. "We share a very common home value with Gardendale today.If our children are sent to a different Jefferson County school, we know the closest one is about 11 miles and the next is around 12 miles, no one is going to buy our property."

Goolsby says he and others wanted city and state leaders to know how important annexation is to their families. Mayor Othell Phillips says there are still a lot of things to work out.

Mayor Phillips says, "We're for annexation, for two things. One if we can feasibly afford it and two, if the people have a chance to vote on it."

Not all Mount Olive residents want to be annexed. Senator Scott Beason says lawmakers want to pave the way for what people want. "It is very contentious and there's people on both sides in that area and I see the only way to solve it and put it to bed is to have a vote of some kind."  
Beason says before going down that road, they need to know if the city can afford to provide services to more residents. Mayor Phillips says, "We're trying to find a win win situation for everyone involved. We just need time to plan together."

Beason says the Mayor and the City Council President will be meeting him and two house members in Montgomery Tuesday to discuss the issue further.

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