Weatherford Democrat

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February 27, 2014

Reno council rejects de-annexation effort

By JUDY SHERIDAN

RENO — A petition calling for the de-annexation of the western part of the City of Reno has been declared invalid by the city attorney and will not go before voters in May elections, according to action taken by the Reno City Council Monday night.

The council voted unanimously to accept attorney Walter Leonard’s report and recommendation. 

The petition, brought forward by Truman Circle resident Art Johnson and presented to the council in January, contains 104 signatures, none of which are legal, according to Leonard, who negated them for not including birth date, voter registration number, city or county.

Chapter 277 of the Election Code specifies a petition signature must contain the signer’s date of birth or voter registration number to be valid.   

Leonard also said the petition fails to comply with Local Government Code 43.143 because the property proposed for de-annexation is not wholly described by metes and bounds, sometimes referring to road beds and intersections instead of specific surveying points.

The code mandates that the area to be de-annexed be described by metes and bounds.

The Texas Municipal League and the Office of the Secretary of State supported his findings, Leonard said.

The attorney also told the packed council chambers that the petition contained misinformation, overstating the $1.2 million city budget by including the water budget and not explaining the $41,000 street budget was low because city officials had previously purchased equipment and material.

He said the information was not grounds for refusing the petition.

Johnson, who has been working on the de-annexation proposal since December of 2012, said he receives few services for his city tax dollars, defining them as police and some road maintenance in a letter accompanying the failed petition.

“How do properties that are just outside city limits make do without Reno services?” he asked in his petition letter. “If the services of Reno are so necessary, good and such a great value, then why are the owners of these properties not demanding to be annexed into Reno?”

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