Many people spoke in opposition of the proposed City of Terrell annexation proceedings during the Terrell Council Meeting on Tuesday night at Terrell City Hall.
Over 200 people attended the Terrell City Council meeting to voice their frustration during a public hearing regarding City Council Resolution No. 928 that allowed the annexation proceedings for 1,000 foot-wide strips of specific land along Interstate 20, U.S. Highway 80, State Highway 205 and State Highway 34 in order to expand the city’s boundaries at its major entrances.
City Council Resolution No. 928 directed the City Manager to prepare service plans for specified areas. Four of these have been completed, IH20, US80, SH205 and SH34. These Service Plans are available at www.cityofterrell.org. On the Home page, scroll down to the grey tab, “Pending Annexations.”
“If you go look at those maps and you’re not within those zones then that means you’re not being currently annexed,” Mike Sims, Terrell Interim City Manager, said.
The Terrell City Council will consider this item for action on its Sept. 17 and Sept. 26 Terrell City Council Meeting, according to Sims.
“That’s when voting associated with this will occur,” Sims said.
The remaining Service Plans required by Resolution No. 928 will not be completed until Summer 2020.
If people would like to receive a copy of these when they are completed, please send an email to ServicePlans@cityofterrell.org. The City of Terrell cannot move forward on additional annexations under Resolution No. 928 until the service plans are compete and notices are sent to landowners.
“These are very in-depth technical documents that require the review of water, waste water, drainage and roadway infrastructure as well as the prospects for police, fire and other city services to be extended into those areas. City Council will review that technical work in the Summer of 2020 and determine how to move forward,” Sims said.
This Resolution closed the gap between the City Comprehensive Plan and HB347, the annexation legislation signed May 24, according to the City of Terrell.
Any annexation ordinances passed will not impact land outside of the 1,000 foot strips along IH20, US80, SH34 and SH205, according to the City of Terrell.
Properties annexed will be subject to City of Terrell taxes the following tax year. For details about exemptions and property taxes, contact the Kaufman County Appraisal District.
People in opposition of the annexation spoke during the public hearing about wanting the citizens to vote on whether or not the annexation should go through. Some said the annexation would take away the rural or country atmosphere in the area. Others were concerned that they may have to re-locate.
Shirley Thompson, who is the General Manager of the College Mound Special Utility District, was the first person to speak to the Terrell City Council during the public hearing. Thompson spoke about the impact of annexation on rural water systems.
“Rural water systems can provide waste water to the development that’s coming out just the same as y’all can. We can provide it. We just respectfully ask that you vote no to the annexation and let rural America remain rural,” Thompson said.
Paula Weber, who is the General Manager of the Ables Springs Special Utility District, spoke during the public hearing about how the planned annexation needs to be voted on by the citizens.
“I drive through Terrell everyday on my way to work. This city has grown so much from when I was a child. I see the signs on the [City of Terrell] trucks, ‘Terrell America’. America, that is where we are and I believe as Americans we have a right to decide where we live and how we live. We need our farmers and our ranchers and we need our rural communities. Therefore, respectfully, I ask in the spirit of House Bill 347, rescind your resolutions and ordinances and let these rural communities decide. Let them vote,” Weber said.
Jessica Thompson spoke about wanting to keep Terrell rural and country during the public hearing.
“I work in Plano. I drive everyday into the city. I see skyscrapers. I’m in traffic everyday. My joy comes from my drive home and seeing all the country land, the cows, the farms, the barns. I love the community, the people here. It’s different and you want to change that. I don’t live in Terrell, Texas to be a new Frisco or Plano. Keep it rural here. Keep it country. Value those things,” Thompson said.
Amy Cernoch-Beam, a Terrell farm owner, spoke during the public hearing.
“I’ve been in Terrell my entire life. The particular piece of land that I own that you’re asking to come to resolution has been farmed by my family for over 50 years. Longer than I’ve been alive. If you proceed and you continue to take, take, take from the farmers, you’re going to make it where it’s not Terrell, America anymore. It’s Dallas, America, it’s DFW, America. All I’m asking for is let us vote. Let us vote, let the people of Terrell vote. Follow the law. Teach the kids, this is right and this is wrong which is what you’ve guys have done before,” Amy Cernoch-Beam said.
Terrell Mayor Rick Carmona read a statement regarding the annexation at the beginning of the Terrell City Council meeting on Tuesday.
Here is the following statement: “It is and will continue to be my philosophy that all actions taken by the mayor and the council should be for the purpose of making Terrell better. I make this statement often in discussion with city staff and with council. The annexation is a priority of the mayors and we must continue moving forward as we meet our objective of welcoming the people to the City of Terrell with great entryways. From considering the annexations along Interstate 20, State Highway 34, State Highway 205 and U.S. Highway 80, the council’s primary concern was protecting those entryways into the city. It is with that goal in mind that we’re moving forward in protecting the entryways. As mayor, I ask myself, how do we move forward with the annexations that protect our entryways while having minimum impact on the property of it. We do this by annexing the minimum amount allowed under state law, which is 1,000 feet. The centerline of each roadway and 500 feet in either direction were possible. The exception would be along U.S. Highway 80 North along the railroad. This is what is being purposed in the current annexations. It has been said that the city’s attempt was a land grab, which it isn’t or a revenue stream, which it isn’t. If it were either of these reasons we would have taken a mile in either direction, but we did not. Again, we did the bare minimum required by law. While I understand the anxiety associated by annexation and concerns over annexation. The mayor and the council serves 17,000 residents of Terrell. We’re responsible and answer to all of these constituents. We strive to act in the best interest in those we represent on current matters while planning and looking ahead to the future. It is because of this duty as elected officials that we must move forward with the annexation. While each of you individually have the good fortune of looking at the impact this has on you. The council must look at the bigger picture and see how it affects Terrell as a whole. These are the tough decisions that we must make. We do not have the luxury of looking at just at today. We have a responsibility of looking into the future with every decision that we make. We must be mindful of the growth that is occurring in and around Terrell. We want to continue the positive momentum associated with the growth, insuring our part of protecting property values and enhancing the quality of future development. In closing, our intend is not to harm individual citizens and property owners but to meet our objective of protecting our city entryways.”