House OK's Deannexation for Robbins
Robbins is set to shrink very slightly and get a little wetter at the same time.
A bill to de-annex Robbins Friendly Mart from the town passed its third reading in the state House of Representatives Monday. The Senate has already approved the bill.
The town commissioners had asked state Sen. Harris Blake to introduce a local bill so that Gene Lewis, who had worked for Robbins area economic development for years through Northern Moore Tomorrow (NMT), would be able to sell beer at this location.
Lewis had voluntarily asked to be annexed several years ago.
Now, after voters in Bensalem township passed an ABC referendum late last year, he faced the possibility that some competing establishment might set up across the street at the Robbins Crossroads where it could legally sell both beer and wine. Last fall, Robbins voters approved off-premises sale of wine but turned down mixed drink and beer sales -- all by narrow margins in which a handful of votes either way would have changed the outcome. Later, Bensalem Township voters approved both beer and wine sales.
The Robbins Crossroads is where N.C. 24-27 and N.C. 705 intersect. One side is in the town limits, while the other side falls within the Bensalem Township.
In return for being re-annexed, Randy Merritt, who leases the store, and Lewis made an agreement with the town under which the store will provide payments to Robbin equal to what the municipality would receive in property taxes and will pay the double out-of-town water rates.
Brian Allen, who had worked with Lewis on NMT, and Merritt say they both had fought hard to get the town to abandon its dry status in the interest of economic growth, though Merritt also freely admits he has a personal interest as a storekeeper who would like to be able to sell beer.
Each house does three "readings" and votes after each one. It is a "local" bill, and such bills by long custom are generally passed without opposition. According to the General Assembly Web site, after a bill passes both houses, it is "enrolled." A clean copy, including all amendments, is then prepared, with space for the signatures of the two presiding officers, and the governor, if necessary.
The enrolled copy is taken to each presiding officer during the daily session. Each officer signs the enrolled copy. When the second signature is affixed, the bill is said to have been ratified. If it is a "local" bill, it becomes law at that point.
Contact John Chappell at 783-5841 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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