Weatherford Democrat

May 6, 2013

Letter to the Editor: Deer Creek annexation


Weatherford Democrat

— By Mark Wohl, Annetta Citizen

ANNETTA — STATEMENT:

Mr. Brasovan has mentioned in a handout, delivered to me by his son and another man, that he was at the December council meeting where he was generally supportive of the petitioners’ desire to be annexed. He goes on to say that in early March, the council still did not have all the information. Mr. Brasovan also stated in the Community News when, talking about the annexation, “We need more information before a decision is made.” Ms. Jessup as well stated in the Community News that she would hope to resolve the annexation by “hiring an outside consultant to look at this annexation and make a very good decision.”

THE REST OF THE STORY:

It is hard for me to understand how Mr. Brasovan failed to see what the rest of us saw. What actually took place was city council members Machak, Wood, Patterson and Moore denying the citizens of Annetta a right to a public hearing. Yes, that’s right, Chuck Sheridan made a motion to schedule the public hearings and authorize the city secretary to prepare a service plan for the area. This is in accordance with the law. Conveniently, however, Mr. Brasovan and others are claiming that the information “has still not been provided, and that the mayor is trying to “rush it through.” This is a misrepresentation of the truth. The authorization was never approved by the council because Councilmen Machak, Wood, Moore and Patterson would neither second the motion or vote on it! Is it fair to say it was not authorized to do it yet still be held accountable for not doing it?  What is true, however, is that Mayor Pinckard followed the law and the advice of the city attorney in calling for the vote after being presented the petition. Mayor Pinckard has also, on his own time, made numerous inquires and talked to multiple utility companies on the matter, and the information is clear; more homes of the same basic utility usage as the existing homes earn the same average franchise fee per house that is paid to the city now.

We are not comparing “unknowns,” but rather “knowns.” This is a comparison of house to house, not factory to retail or house to industry. These numbers are easily calculated based on historical averages which are highly unlikely to change unless those homes go vacant and no utilities are used again. It is preposterous to claim to need an exact amount unless you can enforce some type of minimum or maximum energy usage since fees are earned as a percentage of the bill. Hot summers – more energy – more franchise fees earned. Conversely, mild summers – less energy – less franchise fees earned. It is the same per house average within the same measure of fluctuation that the town experiences now!

Just multiply the additional houses to be annexed by the average per house franchise fee earned currently, and you will be amazingly close! You don’t have to be a CPA to figure that out.

Why would Ms. Jessup say we need an outside consultant to make a very good and basic decision?  Why can’t the city council with input from the citizens make a good decision? Is it that if elected they will not do it! Once more the citizens of Annetta are being left out of the decision-making process.

The Community News reported on the annexation: “The council was tasked with deciding whether or not to set a date for public hearings.” That’s it. Period. On this same report the Community News stated: “When asked by an attendee why the other councilmen were so hesitant to allow for the process of annexation to be further explored in a public hearing, Councilman Bruce Moore said that he felt the questions he had about the process were not being answered. He seemed confused over the nature of the motion, which would in fact allow for the questions he had to be answered at a later date.” He then leaned back in his chair and said: “This would affect the outcome of the election.” Well Mr. Moore, that much you did figure out. Your ability to exert your will over the people would be jeopardized because the citizens are watching you!

The Town of Annetta needs the four candidates, Kent Stasey, Chuck Sheridan, George Ripley and Mayor Bruce Pinckard. Although independent thinkers, they agree to work together to give the citizens a right to speak and be heard, unlike those who now, with the exception of Chuck Sheridan and Mayor Pinckard, have been holding the citizens of Annetta hostage.

We must elect public servants that are willing to break this stranglehold and to allow all the people to be involved in the running of the Town of Annetta.