On Monday evening the property owners along the I-20 corridor again stood united in their opposition to the unrealistic annexation plans currently being proposed by the Mesquite City Council, and this meeting kicked off with a bang as State Representative Lance Gooden admonished the council for disrespecting the citizens opposing their plans.
After Mesquite Mayor Stan Pickett again spent time explaining the council’s “rules of order”, the first of twenty-five citizens to speak was State Representative Lance Gooden, who calmly addressed the council about their public disrespect of these citizens.
Gooden said “I’d like to speak to the rules of decorum, and thank you for laying this out. You know, last week you laid out the rules and I think people were pretty civil. There were a few times when I noticed council members cutting folks off. The Senator was cut-off so I thought that was kind of poor form. So I would just ask that you would let these people talk.”
Gooden stated “I was eating lunch today at the Salt Grass and a councilman was seated with his back to me and didn’t know I was there, and he was bragging to the table about how we’re going to shut this thing down if these folks get out of hand. My point in bringing that up is that these people are passionate, their upset and their angry.”
Immediately Council Member’s Bruce Archer and Dan Aleman took offense to Gooden’s declaration and began shouting for Mayor Stan Pickett to enforce a “point of order”; therefore interrupting Gooden’s public statement.
Mayor Pickett conceded the floor to Council Member Bruce Archer who was clearly furious and embarrassed by his luncheon conversation being revealed.
Council Member Archer stated “First of all, that is absolutely not what I said. Mr. Mayor, I’m pretty certain that the elected officials from the Capital don’t allow this where they serve, and we’re not going to allow it here. And that comment was disrespectful, untrue and I don’t appreciate it. Please respect our decorum as we’d respect yours if we were in the State Capital.”
Responding Gooden stated “Mr. Mayor my point in bringing that up, and I didn’t mean to embarrass anyone which is why I didn’t mention any names, is that there is kind of this thought that the folks behind me are held to a higher standard than you all and myself.”
Explaining he said “We’re elected officials. We’re expected to behave ourselves. We’re talking about a passionate issue here. I’d think that perhaps maybe you could give the folks here a little leeway every now and then. No one had to be hauled out last week they were all pretty well behaved.”
Again a long line on property owners stepped forward to address the council, and many of these residents had questions about the “forty year maximum development agreements” currently being offered to property owners who qualify for an agricultural tax exemption.
Regardless of how the Mesquite Council sugar coats their plans these citizens don’t want to be annexed into the city limits of Mesquite, Texas.
The Mesquite Council is absolutely picking and choosing which property’s they would like to bring into their city limits, and they’re clearly rushing to approve an annexation plan before December 1, 2017 when Senate Bill 6 becomes effective.
Numerous property owners questioned the Council on what kind of services or benefits they would obtain should their properties be annexed, and again the Mesquite City Council is making no promises about public services that would be provided these homeowners.
The Mesquite council freely admits that they have not completed the customary land use studies or surveying which would provide them with needed topographical information about the properties in question, and many residents simply pleaded with the council to do their homework first.
Many of the properties being considered for annexations don’t connect to other parcels included in the plan, and some of the property’s proposed for annexation a considerable distance from the I-20 corridor.
It should be noted that while responding to several citizen’s concerns over the wording used within the development agreements, Place 1 Mesquite City Council Member Robert Milkos repeatedly declared that he is an attorney who specializes in the laws surrounding land acquisitions.
And that during the council work session which preceded this hearing; the Mesquite City Council authorized their city manager to hire the law firm of Brown & Hoffmeister to represent them in legal negotiations with these homeowners.
Undoubtedly the readers of The Forney Post will remember attorney’s Brown & Hoffmeister as the longtime attorney's for the City of Forney. And remember, that in December 2015 the Forney City Council voted 6-1 to terminate the services of Kent Hoffmeister as Forney’s attorney of record.
Therefore it should be clearly understood by all those in opposition to the annexation plans being proposed; to prevail now, both true grit and solidarity will be required.
The next public hearing is scheduled for Thursday night October 26, 2017 and it will be held at Heartland Fellowship Church located at 8283 Union Hill Road, which is located within the Mesquite Extra-territorial Jurisdiction adjacent to Heartland Homes.
The residents of Kaufman County, as well as the taxpayers of Mesquite are encouraged to view the below video of State Representative Lance Gooden and the Mesquite City Council’s heated discussion, and to then view the videos of this meeting at The Forney Post on Facebook.
Written by: Denise Bell