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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Thoughtful planning needed in Athens tiff

A small, desirable company catches the attention of a bigger competitor and before long there is talk of a corporate merger.

When merger doesn't happen, the ugly words "hostile takeover" come into play as the bigger guy uses financial muscle to buy up the small company's publicly traded stock.

Between courtship and takeover the mood often turns ugly.

Athens is in much that position today as Huntsville, Madison and Decatur reach across county lines to annex.

The latest spat is over 10 acres of Limestone County Board of Education land members say Huntsville annexed in November.

The acreage apparently was necessary to create contiguous annexation, which state law requires. Huntsville reacted to the de-annexation request and gobbled up other Limestone land, which apparently cuts off Madison from expanding in the desirable eastern portion of the county and could stop Athens from moving farther east down the U.S. 72 commercial corridor.

Councilman Ronnie Marks' perspective as a member of an annexation committee may be valuable. He's urging Athens to not overreach.

Sometimes annexation wars lead to extreme expansions that are not wise. Mr. Marks wants to make sure Athens can afford to supply the municipal services that go along with annexation.

There's an old saying in the South about a family being land poor, which means having property and little or nothing else.

Athens doesn't want be annexation poor, even if it means ceding the rapidly growing eastern portion to the bigger cities.

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