Annexation talk

Video still from Nov. 13 Special City Council meeting

Dallas County resident Pam Singleton expresses her disappointment of possibly being annexed into the city of Mesquite.

“Dallas wasn’t always as big as it is. And I’m sure the original people that settled there didn’t want to see a lot of change; change is hard for people. But education, communication is what helps people come together.”

-          Jennifer Vidler, Mesquite resident

Discussion of the possible annexation of about 5.714 square miles of territory within the city of Mesquite’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) continued with a fifth public hearing on Nov. 13.

Mayor Stan Pickett announced that on Nov. 10 the city was restrained by Kaufman County District Court from proceeding with the Kaufman County annexation, and as of Nov. 13 that order has not been overturned. The meeting that night focused only on the Dallas County portion of the ETJ.

“We’re obligated immediately upon annexation to provide police and fire services, those things that fall into the category of core services,” Richard Gertson, director of Community Development, said. “We would be required upon annexation of this area, should it occur, to maintain the orphan section of Lawson Road that would become part of our city limits.”

He said there were no other public road or public water or sewer systems in the area, but if there were, the city would be required to maintain those as well.

“With respect to the extension of future infrastructure into this area, the city will establish policies that have to do with demand-based rules and requirements that developers, if property is to be developed, are responsible initially for the extension of water and sewer to those properties,” he said.

Several Dallas County residents spoke before the council to speak their opposition to the possible annexation. There were also several Kaufman County residents who showed up to support those residents.

One Dallas County man asked about services including solid waste. Gertson said the city is not allowed to interrupt any contract in place for solid waste service in the area for a certain number of years.

“I respect your city officials but will continue to fight for the right to vote and for our property rights. Our household will no longer give any more money to the city of Mesquite businesses,” said Dallas County resident Pam Singleton. “We will shop and seek services in the city of Forney, and I urge everybody to do the same. So you may get our tax dollars, but you won’t get our hard-earned money on anything else.”

The owner of Gibson’s Outpost and Shooting Range said he has been in business for almost 35 years and raised some of his own concerns like what sort of additional rules his business may have to face upon being annexed into the city limits.

Mesquite resident Jennifer Vidler defended the City Council and urged her fellow residents to stop and think about Dallas.

“Dallas wasn’t always as big as it is. And I’m sure the original people that settled there didn’t want to see a lot of change; change is hard for people. But education, communication is what helps people come together,” she said.

The topic of annexation was brought up again the following day at the City Council meeting. The council voted to postpone authorizing the city manager to execute the development agreements offered by the city and accepted by property owners in the annexation area in Resolution No. 56-2017, as amended. And an ordinance annexing approximately 5.714 square miles of territory within the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, adopting a service plan for the provision of full municipal services in the area so annexed, designating annexed territory to be zoned Agricultural, permitting the possession, storage, sale and handling of fireworks as well as other transitional requirements for a defined term, excluding from annexation those properties subject to a development agreement.

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