The attorney pointed out taxes would continue at the same levels for the de-annexed residents until the current city debts — about $2.5 million, according to Mayor Lynda Stokes — are cleared, per Local Government Code 43.143, but services would stop.
Leonard described eliminating the city police force — and relying instead on the Parker County Sheriff’s Office — in threatening terms.
“Does anyone remember what the sheriff’s service used to be like here?” he asked. “It was characterized by long waits. Joe can tell you some horror stories about people who called the sheriff’s department with an intruder in their living room and were told, after a considerable wait, ‘Just tell them to leave.’ I’m not kidding. There are many times when they can’t come, and they don’t have people to respond.”
The attorney used several examples — including pig farms, junk yards and “nudie bars” — when explaining the protective zoning cities offer; one was especially bizarre.
“We had a request three or four months ago from someone who has an interest in this cemetery down here. They wanted to put in a tissue bank, where basically they disassemble people and do things with the materials.”
A final case was made that the de-annexed areas could then fall into the extraterritorial jurisdictions of other cities, which could annex them and impose taxes in addition to the ones they would already be paying to clear Reno’s debt.
When Leonard was finished, there was little support expressed for splitting the city, though several complained of poorly maintained roads.
Condie Prioleau, who collected 45 of the required 50 signatures for a second petition proposing to de-annex a portion of Reno’s east side, told the Democrat her petition has been put on hold since the council meeting.
Johnson said he would raise funds to pay a surveyor and an attorney if residents decide on a second attempt.