Last week the Forney Area Networking Group (FANG) held their weekly luncheon at Rio Lerma Mexican Restaurant where Keynote Speaker Mayor Rick Wilson casually spoke with a group of local business owners about the current state of development in Forney.
Mayor Wilson briefed the group on several projects currently underway in the city, before spending time answering questions and discussing ideas for Forney’s future.
While answering a question from a Devonshire resident about why only city residents may serve on city appointed boards and commissions, Mayor Wilson said “First of all I always like to explain by saying that I don’t care if you live in Devonshire, Windmill Farms or Grandview. Where ever you live, I look at you as Forney.”
Explaining he said “So if you don’t live in the city limits, how can you get involved. The issue is that our Charter of course doesn’t allow for anyone who lives outside the city limits to sit on a Board. Wither Devonshire, which I think would be a great asset to the community, would ever become inside the city of Forney, is a two part question. Because number one you’re not in the Forney ETJ, you’re in the Dallas ETJ.”
Mayor Wilson said “If you were in Forney’s ETJ, Extra-territorial Jurisdiction, for those of you that don’t know. We have a city limits and then we have an ETJ, that’s like a circle drawn around the city that we can annex into or acquire into the community. A community like Devonshire is a fresh water MUD district, a utility district. So what they did was the developer went out and sold bonds. The developer went out and sold bonds to provide the services in that community”.
Wilson stated “This makes it extremely difficult for a municipality to take over that development because we would have to pay those bonds off. And some of the developments have an extremely large debt load so it’s just not feasibly for us to do that.”
While discussing several of the sub-divisions adjacent to the city limits, Mayor Wilson said “The biggest MUD district or utility district in our areas was Windmill Farms. And Windmill Farms has the potential to have 14,000 homes, and they won’t have a council member to represent them, or a mayor or anyone. And that’s a problem, because those citizens deserve some type of interaction with their local government.”
He said “I’ve have people come to me all the time that say I hey I live in Windmill Farms, can you do this. And we’re still trying to provide those amenities within our community to all these sub-divisions that are outside our city limits but what happens is that we don’t get city tax. Let me be clear. Everybody pays tax. But you pay a utility district tax instead of paying a city tax where we could take that money and use it for police and fire and maintenance and to help with throughout our community, we don’t get that tax.”
Being very open and specific, Mayor Wilson said “If there was a way to change that, I’d be all for it. That’s why I’m not for fresh water districts or MUD districts continuing to expand and get bigger and bigger. And not help with the amenities we need within our community.”
Check out additional photographs and video clips of the luncheon at The Forney Post on Facebook.
Written by: Denise Bell