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Mobile could become state's 2nd-largest city with annexation

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Mobile's mayor is proposing to annex 13,000 residents into the city.

The proposal — if it happens — would make the south Alabama city the second-largest in Alabama, reported.

Mobile, with a population just under 190,000, is currently the fourth-largest city in Alabama behind Birmingham, Huntsville and Montgomery.

But there has been opposition to the idea among Mobile city council members.

At a recent meeting, council member C.J. Small showed a Power Point presentation of photographs from around his district illustrating dilapidated buildings, potholes in roads, and parks in poor condition.

"This is what I get phone calls about," Small said. "Streets and sidewalks that have been left, for years, in distress. A (swimming) pool full of water with mosquitoes. Trash overflowing. And we are talking about expanding Mobile? We need to take care of our home first."

Discussion on the city council has also split along racial lines with the council's three black members voicing the most concerns about the annexation.

Under the proposal, the annexation of three separate corridors west of the city's limits would change the city's demographics from 50% black and 45.5% white to 48.8%, black and 46.7% white.

But Council President Levon Manzie said the issue wasn't about a shift in the city's racial demographics. Manzie and some other council members say it comes down to finances — and whether millions of dollars in city resources should be spent on providing services to people living west of the city limits.

In a 6-1 vote, the council decided to wait before deciding whether to authorize a special election for voters outside the city limits on whether to annex into the city. The waiting period will allow the administration to return back with more information about how the annexation would affect the city's finances.

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