Harlem Mayor, Roxanne Whitaker, has changed her mind about doubling the size of the Harlem and has asked Governor Kemp to veto House Bill 598 in which Harlem would annex several parcels of land in Columbia County.
A press release sent to NewsChannel 6 states, one of the landowners affected wrote a letter against the bill stating, the annexation would not benefit his property. Georgia Representative and Harlem attorney, Barry Fleming, told city officials he would sponsor the annexation bill if property owners within the annexed areas didn’t oppose the bill.
Harlem City Manager, Brett Cook says he regrets the politicization of this matter saying, “On behalf of the City of Harlem, we apologize to Representative Fleming that we were not able to achieve a 100% support of this bill from land owners that we previously informed him we would have.”
Mayor Whitaker says the City would continue to consider future annexations with property owner support and city officials say they will continue to work with property owners who wish to become part of the city. She also says, though the city and Columbia County officials disagreed on this issue she will not allow it to damage the working relationship with the Columbia County Commission.
Within the next month, Columbia County will place an ambulance within the Harlem City limits to assist in emergency situations. Harlem city officials say they and residents are very appreciative.