PARKER COUNTY —
One council member has already resigned over the divide between Deer Creek users and some council members.
Witnesses say former council member Jamie Harris raised his voice at a Deer Creek area resident who voiced his opinion during a recent water system advisory board meeting. The day after the man spoke about the incident in a subsequent Annetta council meeting, Harris resigned.
“I left because we were simply not making any progress,” Harris said, adding that he has been trying to move the city forward but there is a tremendous amount of divisiveness.
Harris believes the divide is natural because half the town residents are on the water system and half are not.
City officials were spending about 90 percent of their time discussing water system-related issues rather than dealing with other things that need to be addressed, according to Harris.
One of those things is the hall building that the city has been leasing that is not ADA or OSHA compliant, Harris said, leaving the city open to lawsuits.
Harris said he has had to carry his mother up the stairs to vote.
“The only reason the city needs a building at all is the water system,” Harris said, saying that they have gone from a part-time employee in the office two days a week to a full-time employee and a part-time employee at the city hall, now open five days.
Since the city began leasing the building many years ago, they have added about 100 new homes, according to Annetta Mayor Bruce Pinckard. Residents come to the building for building permits, platting requirements and other information, as well as water billing. The water system pays rent for that use, which began last spring.
The current building was never intended to be used by the general public, and now city meetings are averaging about 30 people, Pinckard said.
Some council members invested time in researching some options that were recently presented to the council, Pinckard said, adding he doesn’t believe the city can afford to do a large project.
The people on the water system heard that if the city does this plan, they’ll be able to charge it to the water system, and the pitchforks came out, according to Pinckard.
“Officially, the council has not made that decision,” Pinckard said.
“It’s disappointing that all the people expressing their opinion weren’t citizens but that’s the way it was,” Harris said of a recent city meeting where many concerned Deer Creek residents attended and spoke.