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December 26, 2012

Annetta annexation effort far from agreement

By CHRISTIN COYNE | ccoyne@weatherforddemocrat.com

ANNETTA – Despite more than 500 petition signatures from Parker County residents requesting annexation into Annetta, the majority of the Annetta Town Council declined last week to take any action on the petition or schedule public hearings on the issue.

The group of Deer Creek water system users had hoped to have the council vote in favor of annexation prior to Feb. 7, in time for the water users currently in surrounding unincorporated areas to vote in the May municipal elections. A majority of water users currently live outside the town.

However, a motion Thursday by council member Chuck Sheridan to start the public input process on the issue failed for lack of a second.

A two-week door-to-door petition drive by a group of concerned residents – the same group that organized litigation efforts against Willow Park over ownership of the water system several years ago – garnered the support of more than half the affected Parker County residents. Additionally, on Dec. 13, the Annetta South council voted unanimously to release a portion of land within their ETJ so all Deer Creek residents could seek annexation by Annetta.

Deer Creek residents say they believe the Annetta council has managed the system well since purchasing it two years ago from Willow Park, including backing $1 million in bonds for needed improvements earlier this year.

However, the group has concerns about representation on the council and wants to make sure their voice is heard about the city’s potential future plans that would involve the water and sewer system monies, such as purchasing or renting a new city building or hiring additional city staff.

Some have also noted a need to combine the areas to deal with future growth in the neighborhood and address development issues.

Opponents of annexation say the city cannot afford to take on additional roads at the current time because the city does not assess a property tax.

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