A Jefferson County Circuit Court judge set a new date for an annexation vote in the Indian Ford Fire District, the source of a court battle between the cities of Hoover and Helena.

The Fire District is an unincorporated community in both Jefferson and Shelby Counties. Residents in the part of the district located in Jefferson County were set to vote on August 8 to decide whether or not their neighborhood would join the city of Helena.

The City of Helena and the Fire District's board of directors have worked together since earlier this year. They managed to acquire 200 signatures from residents in favor of annexation into Helena.

But Helena Mayor Brian Puckett accused the City of Hoover last month of cherry-picking commercial properties for annexation in the fire district. He said Hoover officials promised particular businesses in the area tax abatements in return for signing a petition to annex into Hoover instead.

Circuit Court Judge David Hobdy granted a restraining order against Hoover on July 18. This kept Hoover from attempting to solicit votes for annexation in the Fire District until after the Helena annexation election. 

The following Monday, Hobdy amended the lawsuit to allow neither Hoover nor Helena to campaign landowners for annexation until they receive approval from a Jefferson County Court.

After the restraining order expired after 10 business days, Helena delayed the annexation vote via a court notice. 

In response, Hoover filed a motion to the Alabama Supreme Court, hoping the court would direct the circuit court to dismiss the entire case. Hoover's attorneys argued now that the restraining order was over and Helena had decided to delay its election, the issue was moot. 

A City of Hoover attorney told 1819 News at the Hoover City Council meeting on August 7 that city officials will not comment on the ongoing annexation battle with Helena until the Alabama Supreme Court resolves the case.

1819 News initially approached Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato to ask about the annexation. Brocato consulted city attorney Phillip Corley, Jr., who said the city, though not barred by the court from talking to the press, has chosen not to discuss legal matters.

According to reports, Probate Judge James Naftel II rescheduled the vote for September 12. It will be held at the Southcrest Baptist Church at 4317 South Shades Crest Road.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email will.blakely@1819news.com or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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