Weatherford Democrat

May 3, 2013

Annetta City Council – the race for Place 3

Weatherford Democrat

Here is a look at the two candidates seeking the Place 3 seat on the Annetta City Council. Incumbent Chuck Sheridan is being challenged in the May 11 election by Joann Jessup. Early voting continues through Tuesday.

Name: Joann Jessup

Age: 41

Occupation: sales/certified public accountant.

Family: married 13 years, mother of two boys (ages 5 and 7). Both attend Aledo schools. Two dogs, Hank and Bogie.

How long in Annetta: five years.

Community involvement: Aledo youth soccer coach for four years, Aledo youth baseball coach for four years.

What are the three most important issues the city is facing? How do you plan to address those?

1. High water rates. As a Deer Creek water customer myself, I, too, am frustrated by the high water rates. Just the water for inside my house in the winter runs over $100. I would like to see lower water rates and plan to use my skills as a CPA to investigate the finances of the water system to determine if we can make changes that allow for lower water rates.

2. Lack of water supply. Not being able to water at all in the summer is very frustrating for all of us water customers. I would like to see more water wells and tanks constructed in areas that do not lower or depreciate home values. I will push for more resources toward constructing these wells and tanks and getting them operational in a timely manner.

3. Road conditions. Our current road conditions are not optimal. The council was able to budget $15,000 for roads and will use that money to repair only a small section of roads in our town. I would like to see more money budgeted for roads if possible, especially if the annexation of more residents occurs.

Are you for or against the annexation of area residents served by the city’s water system? Why?

There are some great reasons to annex the area residents that are serviced by the water system. By annexing these people in, they will have a vote in the city elections and can elect individuals that share their ideals and concerns on the water system. This will also give these neighbors a feeling of community instead of feeling like an outsider. Annetta will also have more oversight on zoning of these areas and can assist in keeping the “small town” feel that most people desire.

However, as a CPA, my concern is the finances. There needs to be an independent analysis done to look at the increase of revenues compared to the increase in expenditures this will create. The annexation would possibly double the town’s population and the increase in revenues may or may not be able to cover the increase in expenditures brought on by this.

Just an example is our roads. The town was able to budget $15,000 for roads in 2012. That will only cover a small portion of roads. The annexation will increase the number of roads in our town. I do not want to annex these folks in and then not be able to provide them with the necessary road repairs they deserve.

Why do you believe you are the best candidate for the position? What separates you from your opponent?

I believe my 20 years in business and sales as well as the fact that I am a CPA qualifies me for this position. I am independent and am not running in any group; therefore, you can be assured that I will not align myself with any one councilman or mayor on an issue based on who I ran the race with.  I will look at all the issues independently, collect the facts, report the truth, and vote based on what is best for the people of Annetta and not my own personal gain.

I have a strong voice and am not afraid to state my opinion. I will admit when I am wrong. I have a strong track record of negotiations and conflict management. I promise to work professionally with other members of the council and not hold disagreements personally.


Name: Chuck Sheridan

Age: 66

Occupation: Omni American Bank, senior vice president, mortgage lending.

Family: Married to Laurie for 24 years, father of two sons (Dayton and Brendan), both graduates of Aledo ISD and both currently enrolled in college.

How long resided in city: 24 years in the same home, which was annexed into Annetta city limits two years ago.

Community involvement: member of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Board of Realtors and Mortgage Bankers Association.

What are the three most important issues the city is facing? How do you plan to address those?

1. First, the water system is a critical issue to the citizens of Annetta and the customers of our

water system, many of whom do not currently reside inside the city limits of Annetta. The engineers hired by the city told us that we needed three wells in order to bring the water system into maximum efficiency. One well has been drilled and is now operational. We need to work with all concerned to find suitable site locations for the remaining two wells and complete that process.

We also need to work together to develop a plan to ensure that maintenance and repairs on the system are up to date. I believe that the appointment of the Water Advisory Committee was one of the best things the Annetta City Council has ever done. The members of the Advisory Committee studied the issues facing the city and provided sound advice that has helped the mayor and the council move forward.

At this time, I do not think the city is ready to take over the day-to-day operation of the water system from Hudson Oaks. As noted in the Water Advisory Committee’s report, and backed up with financial data they provided, Annetta simply cannot operate the system as well or as cost efficiently at the present time as Hudson Oaks is doing. We are still in the learning phase. While we someday hope to take over the operation of our water system, now is not the time.

2. Second, the proposed annexation of approximately 450 homes into the town of Annetta is an issue that must be appropriately dealt with by the council. I am in favor of the annexation of area residents serviced by the city’s water system. When new residents are brought into the city, the city will be able to collect franchise fees paid by the utility companies those families use. I have estimated that this will increase the revenue earned for the town of Annetta by approximately 100 percent over what is currently being paid to our town by utility companies. This additional revenue will enable Annetta to pay for much-needed road repair and establish an annual Road Maintenance Plan. In addition to increased revenue, this will enable more citizens to have input into city government and an opportunity to serve our community. This would hopefully result in better representation of the entire community.

3. Road repair and maintenance is also an issue that is extremely important to our entire community. It impacts our safety and our finances. When our roads are in disrepair, as they are now, accidents are more likely, and our vehicles are subject to costly damage. This is not good far anyone. The town of Annetta has very limited funds to repair roads. In fact, it was only two years ago that the council established a form process to budget far road repairs. One benefit of the annexation of additional homes on the water system would be increased revenue from franchise fees, some of which could be designated for road repairs. We must fix the roads that are currently in need of repair, and develop an annual road maintenance plan so that work is done before the roads get in such bad shape. Like most things in life, maintaining a road is much more cost effective than repairing it after problems develop.

Are you for or against the annexation of area residents served by the city’s water system? Why?

At the December 20th council meeting, I made a motion to accept the annexation petition and start the process for two public hearings. This would have allowed the entire community to have questions answered and concerns addressed. The purpose of the public hearings, according to state law, is to allow a time period during which the “pros and cons” of the issue can be discussed by all involved.

Unfortunately, my motion died far lack of a second. Every member except Farrar Patterson was present. Mayor Pinckard called a special meeting on January 3 to discuss annexation again. Again, I made a motion to begin the process of public hearings. My motion again died for lack of a second.

In March, the council held a workshop on annexation. Community members (Annetta residents and water customers) attended. Questions were asked and concerns raised. Two primary issues come out. First, what costs would be incurred by the city if the homes were annexed into the city – primarily costs of monitoring the roads where these homes exist.

Second, how much income might be derived from these households if they are added to the city’s rolls to help offset those costs. Within a few days after that workshop, we had the answers. Commissioner Renfro gave his assurance that prior to any annexation, the county would bring all county roads to be annexed up to county standards. Furthermore, we were able to determine the approximate costs associated with road maintenance. We contacted utility companies to determine possible income from franchise fees.

Each time a customer pays a bill to a utility company, that company pays a franchise fee to the city. For those who live outside of Annetta, that income is “left on the table.” So, even though those families use Annetta-owned water and drive across Annetta maintained streets, Annetta doesn’t collect the franchise fees from their utility companies.

We determined that the increased franchise fee income from the annexation should increase income to Annetta by approximately 50 percent over the amount now collected annually. This would cover any increase in road repair expenses.

These questions, raised at the workshop, are exactly the kind of benefit that comes from the public hearing process. I support the annexation of these families. They are our water customers and our neighbors. They contribute to our schools and our community. Clearly, they will bring many added benefits to Annetta.

Why do you believe you are the best candidate for the position? What separates you from your opponent?

I have lived in the same home here for 24 years. I raised both my sons here in the Aledo school district and my wife and I have been active in the community. I decided to run for the city council two years ago because I wanted to represent my friends and neighbors, and to help make the best decisions possible for the entire community. I am not a politician. I’m a husband, a father and a businessman. I care about my community and it has been a privilege to serve.

Having served for the past two years on the city council, I believe I have invaluable experience regarding the internal operations of the city of Annetta. I have proven myself to be a voice of the people; I have presented myself with professionalism and shown fiscal responsibility with the city’s assets. I have helped provide integrated solutions to solve the problems of the city and earned the mutual respect of not only fellow council members, but also the citizens of the community.

I have never started anything in my life that I haven’t finished. I decided to run for re-election because I believe that we still have some work to do. I am grateful for the support I’ve received and I respectfully ask the people of Annetta to vote for me again so that we can continue the work we’ve started and finish the projects on the table. I promise I’ll do my best to serve with integrity and honesty as I have done the past two years.