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Commonwealth's Counties

VACo Supports Bills Extending Annexation Moratorium

HB 1676 (Hodges) and SB 1185 (Lewis) extend the moratorium on city annexations until 2032.

Counties provide the same type of urban services (such as police, transit, water, and sewer services) that independent cities do. This makes city annexation of county land problematic, particularly because it results in the erosion of the necessary tax base counties rely on to provide such services. For this, and other controversial circumstances created by city annexation, the legislature implemented the first moratorium on annexation in 1971. The version of the moratorium extended by these bills was implemented in 1987.

In 2016 the General Assembly extended the current moratorium until 2024 and directed the Commission on Local Government (COLG) “… to evaluate the structure of cities and counties in the Commonwealth and the impact of annexation upon localities … consider alternatives to the current moratorium on annexation by cities.”

That report, which VACo and VML assisted in drafting, concluded that “… granting cities the ability to annex in the future to be a very low probability and an ineffective solution” to addressing changes is in the economy, population growth, development, and service demands.

For these reasons, VACo supports HB 1676 and SB 1185.

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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