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Friends of Hamilton eye March election

An option to incorporate the city of Hamilton wasn’t on November’s ballot, but the Friends of Hamilton isn’t giving up.

After losing more than half of the collected 2,000 signatures during the vetting process that ensures signatures belong to a registered voter living within the proposed incorporation area, the group is working to get the city’s incorporation on March’s ballot.

“It’s been a little disappointing and revealing to us about how many people don’t keep up with their voter registration,” said Friends of Hamilton spokesman Brendan Jennings. “We’re still working on it, and we’re going to send people out going door to door in neighborhoods soon.”

Going door to door will help ensure more accuracy with the signature collection process, he noted. An estimated 3,000 signatures are required to incorporate a new city.

“We’ve been at this for over a year and would like to see a conclusion,” he said.

With recent annexations by the city of Collegedale, a new Chattanooga mayor being elected in March and the looming 2020 meeting of mayors from across the Greater Chattanooga area to reassess each city’s growth boundaries, Jennings said incorporating the city of Hamilton is just as important now as it was more than a year ago when the effort began.

“In 2020 the cities will get together and extend their growth boundaries,” he said. “Before you know it rural areas in north Hamilton County will be eaten up by the growth boundaries, which undermines the whole idea of local governance and local communities. If people want to be governed by a city 20 miles away, then it’s fine to sit back. But if people want to do something about it, we are actively seeking help. We could use donations and volunteers.”

For more information visit www.friendsofhamilton.org.

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