CHARLESTON, Tenn. — Charleston City Commissioner Larry Anderson abruptly resigned Tuesday evening, expressing disappointment over the ongoing annexation of 135 acres and an estimated 272 Bradley County residents southwest of the city.
City leaders seemed surprised when Anderson announced his resignation just before a commission meeting. He turned in his city code book and immediately left the municipal building.
"I'm tired of beating a dead horse," was all that Anderson said when Mayor Walter Goode asked him why he was resigning.
During the meeting, Goode said he did not know why Anderson had resigned.
"He never said anything about having problems or being upset during any of our meetings," the mayor said.
Contacted after the meeting, Anderson said he was frustrated by unexpected delays in the annexation process.
"I'm tired of things backfiring on the commissioners," he said. "I've done this for 10 years, and things haven't changed."
Goode said he believed Anderson misunderstood the public hearing procedures and timeline for annexation to become final. He said Anderson had called him recently about the matter.
Last month, the City Commission read its plan of services for the annexed area. The first public hearing was Tuesday and the second is April 9. The annexation becomes official 30 days after that, Goode said.
The main objective of the incorporation is to bring the city's population closer to 1,000, which is a major benchmark for qualifying for more federal grants, Goode said. The current annexation is expected to bring Charleston within 40 residents of that goal.
Residents brought into the city should see a financial advantage, officials said. A Municipal Technical Advisory Service study showed annexed residents owning property valued at $131,000 would save as much as $200 annually because of city garbage service and possible fire insurance discounts.
Few people from targeted area, which includes Maplecrest subdivision and Mustang Drive, have attended recent annexation meetings. Five people attended at the plans and services meeting, and no resident attended Tuesday's hearing.
In other business, officials expressed concern over renegotiation proceedings involving Bradley County's animal control services contract with Cleveland.
Should the county and Cleveland not reach a new agreement, it will become a burden to Charleston, police Chief Hank Hayden said. Without animal pickup services, the city will need to make some kind of provision for animals picked up by the police, including temporary housing and transportation to the Cleveland Animal Shelter, he said.
"We really rely on Cleveland's Animal Control," Hayden said.