Wilmington, NC – Shallotte's Board of Aldermen will vote next Tuesday on whether to incorporate the town's so-called 'doughnut holes.'
Uneven expansion has left Shallotte dimpled with pockets of unincorporated land, partially or entirely surrounded by the areas of city jurisdiction.
Now town leaders are considering annexing those areas, home to an estimated four-to-five hundred people. The entire territory is the remainder of what's known as an ETJ, or Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction, a ring of land around Shallotte available for expansion.
Town Administrator Paul Sabiston says, that while residents always worry about tax increases, annexation should come as no surprise to anyone.
"That ETJ was established twelve or fourteen years ago and it's be talked about annexing that area into the town virtually since," Sabiston said.
Shallotte's Aldermen also have some reservations, though. Sabiston said concerns about the increased demands on sewer and emergency services led to a plan whereby annexed areas would be phased in over the next five years.
Sabiston added that the current patchwork of jurisdictions does cause trouble for Shallotte's police and fire departments.
He believes emergency responders will be relieved to be able to assume that any address located in what's commonly referred to as Shallotte is actually in the town limits. "So they're not having to decide, 'well, is this a 911 call that the sheriff should be handling and they're handling instead?'"
Shallotte's Board of Aldermen votes on the proposal next Tuesday. If approved, the expansion must then be voted on by the state legislature.