News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Time for Morgan County to consider home rule

The Morgan County Commission last week added its voice to those opposing Huntsville's proposed annexation into Morgan County at Lacey's Spring.

And a meaningless paper resolution may be all the county government has to keep Huntsville from coming across the Tennessee River. Morgan County lacks home rule.

Even if rural voters approved the limited home rule that the Legislature made available to them last year, the commission may not have had much firepower against Huntsville.

But if Morgan County's rural voters had approved home rule by now, they at least could take away some of the inducement for developers of a proposed 1,200-lot residential community to seek shelter inside Huntsville city limits.

If the county already had the limited home rule, commissioners would have authority to control overgrown weeds, animals and the nuisances they cause, litter and rubbish, junkyards, unsanitary sewage and noise.

Voters in five counties gave their approval for limited home rule during the spring primary elections. Two more have referendums scheduled for November.

It is too late for Morgan County to get a referendum on the November ballot, but it's not too late to start building a consensus in favor of limited home rule.

Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver looks at limited home rule as having "the authority to do things that common sense tells you we ought to be able to do in order to govern."

James Mahan doesn't want annexation and appealed to the County Commission "to protect our interests."

But first the commission must have the authority, and not enough rural residents are yet willing to even cede weed control to the county.

Rules and regulations protect everybody.

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