In a six-to-one vote, the Midlothian City Council voted to add 5.417 square miles to the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction at its Tuesday night meeting.
The annexation will provide the city with an area for future growth to take place and to dictate how it happens.
Midlothian City Manager Chris Dick said the city began the annexation process several years back and noted it took many steps to complete.
“This was a three-year process that started in 2014. We followed state law. State law sets it up and they are very specific on the time frame. It gives you so many days from the original resolution to start the annexation to hold the public hearings, which is around a (one) year timeframe,” Dick explained. “The Ellis County Commissioners Court then appoints a five-member negotiating team. You go through that process of negotiating a service plan with them. Once that is in place you kind of wait this three-year period to adopt the annexation.”
Dick stated that the two public hearings took place in 2015 and the city hosted informational meetings, which were held in July. These meetings were where residents could come and ask city staff questions about the annexation process.
Residents voiced strong objections to being annexed siting that there was no benefit to them becoming part of the city.
Resident Brent Butterworth addressed the council, stating that this annexation does not provide any tangible benefits and only gives an additional tax burden to residents.
“I am sick and tired of government at all levels. We moved here for a reason. Now it is being taken away. After you done this consider this what value are you adding? We don’t want sidewalks, I have septic, and get good service from Ellis County,” Butterworth said. "I’m very disappointed in you today. What good is that extra $1,500 going to do except take away from my children’s college fund.”
Fellow resident Lance Thiesen shared Butterworth’s view about the prospect of becoming a part of the City of Midlothian. He told the council that he bought property in the county to not be subjected city rules and taxes.
“We don’t welcome you to our neighborhood. We enjoy being Ellis County residents. We don’t want to be annexed into the city. We went to the information night and found no meaningful answers,” Thiesen stated. “We don’t have any parks in our area. We go to Getzendaner in Waxahachie to walk the trails and enjoy the scenery. We support your schools even though we don’t have any children but recognize the benefit. We don’t choose annexation or the taxes that go with it. We enjoy the freedoms we have.”
Linda Forsyth told the council that she felt like there was not a choice presented to residents.
“I feel bullied because no one knocked on my door and asked me what I wanted. I was told that Midlothian would spend more than you would take it in. Then wondered I why you would take us in? It is because we are a buffer zone,” Forsyth explained. “I came to the area because I wanted to be out of the city. I feel that my right as citizens and my neighbors are being taken away. I have a great neighborhood, but it is changing. We came down here to enjoy a more country lifestyle. No one seems to care what we care to think. Why are we are paying the price? No one asked us.”
Mayor Bill Houston stated that this item was not listed as a public hearing, but the council was allowing residents to speak as a courtesy. Since the issue was not listed for discussion, the council legally couldn’t respond comments or questions posed by residents.
The annexation passed in a 6-1 vote with councilmember Mike Rodgers voting in opposition. In connection with the annexation, the council approved zoning classifications as either single-family one or agricultural zoning districts. The board also approved 34 annexation agreements in the five-mile area. Councilman Wayne Sibley abstained from voting on the annexation agreements vote due to a conflict of interest.
In other business the council:
• Approved an ordinance amending a specific use permit for a car dealership by amending the fencing requirements, the number of car display spaces, the site plan, the landscape plan, and building elevations. The dealership is set to be located at 4480 E. U.S. Highway 287.
• Approved the purchase of a 2018 Ford F-550 crew cab truck with a dump body from Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford of Carrollton for $68,016.
• Approved a renewal with Advanced Data Processing Inc., who is a subsidiary of Intermedix, for rescue ambulance billing and related professional services for a fee of 6.95 percent of ambulance billing collections.
• Approved an agreement with ESO Solutions, Inc. for rescue ambulance patient care reporting software to be paid through Intermedix for 6.95 percent of ambulance billing collections.
• Approved ordinances amending the 2017-2018 fiscal year general fund budget appropriations in the amount of $495,288.05 from the general fund unreserved fund balance for expenditures encumbered but not yet expended from the 2016-2017 fiscal year general fund budget.
• Approved an ordinance amending the 2017-2018 fiscal year utility fund budget appropriations in the amount of $650,403.31 from the utility fund unreserved fund balance for expenditures encumbered but not yet expended from the 2016-2017 fiscal year utility fund budget.
• Approved an ordinance amending the 2017-2018 fiscal year general fund budget for appropriations in the amount of $904,767 from the general fund unreserved fund balance for expenditures not encumbered but not yet expended from the 2016-2017 general fund budget.
• Approved an ordinance amending the 2017-2018 utility fund budget appropriation in the amount of $891,143 from the utility fund unreserved fund balance for expenditures not encumbered nor expended from the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget.
• Approved a one-year distribution pole licensee agreement between Oncor and the city.
• Approved an interlocal cooperative purchasing agreement with the City of Red Oak.
• Approved a subscriber services agreement between the city and the City of Fort Worth.
• Approved a resolution authorizing the Cupid Shuffle 5K event to be hosted by the Reach Council of Ellis County on Feb. 10.
• Approved a to award a contract to Brenntag Southwest Inc. for the purchase of NSF approved caustic soda chemicals to be used in the water treatment plants for $51,770.
• Approved a change order to the South 14th Street Roadway Improvement Project with Circle H Contractors for two future northbound lanes for a total project cost not to exceed $5,522,826.27.
• Approved a resolution declaring the intention to reimburse certain expenditures with proceeds from debt.