MIDLOTHIAN — By a 4-2 vote, members of the Midlothian City Council approved to annex 110 acres of land presently located in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the city. The area, bounded by State Highway 287 and between Primrose Drive and South Walnut Grove Road, is already surrounded by Midlothian city limits on all four sides.
During the vote, councilman Mike Rogers recused himself as he is a landowner in the affected area.
During the public hearing segment of the meeting, three residents spoke in opposition to the annexation.
“I am asking the council to put the brakes on it a little bit and consider the three-year annexation plan which would give the residents and city time to plan," said Marcelle Olson, an attorney for several of the property owners. "I understand annexation is inevitable, but move forward in a positive way."
Shawn Yarbrough added, “I’m opposed to the annexation. We understand where we are. We just ask that you give us the respect and time to plan with a three-year extension.”
Former Midlothian Mayor Boyce Whatley was also one of the speakers.
“I stood before the state legislature supporting annexation laws," he explained. "I started serving this community back in the 1980s. But I’d like today to ask when making decisions, understand the impact your decisions have on others. There were plenty of times when I made decisions that were in the best interest of the community, but not in the best interest of me or my family.
"I tell people, I lost more [during] the years I was on the council than I ever made during that same period of time. I could always go to bed and sleep well knowing the decisions I made were the best for the community regardless of the impact they on my family," Whatley continued. "I want to support you during the process you are going through. I will continue to support you. There are a lot of residents that understand annexation and the impacts it has on their pocketbooks, I’m talking about city residents."
During the council’s discussion, councilman Ted Miller asked that the board to consider a three-year annexation plan saying ninety days is not enough. He also asked assistant city manager Kristine Day if the businesses would have to immediately meet city codes.
Day replied, “If there are no changes in the business operations or changes in the building occupancy or changes to the building they would be grandfathered. If there were changes in the building occupancy, of an expansion to the building, then they would be subject to meeting city requirements.”
Councilwoman Jimmie McClure moved to approve the annexation and Wayne Sibley seconded. The motion carried, 4-2.
One of the companion ordinances requested the council to accept four annexation agreements with Gary and Mary Redden for four properties in the area.
Day explained development agreements are essentially “delayed annexation” agreements in which a property owner can choose to delay annexation and property taxes for five years unless the owner subdivides or otherwise changes the use of the property.
“At the end of this period, this property will be deemed to have filed a petition for voluntary annexation and the process will commence,” Day added
The agreements were unanimously approved with Rogers abstaining.
The second companion ordinance requested an amendment to the city map by changing the future use of the newly annexed area from the suburban module to corporate module. The change affects the entire area, including the four lots with the development agreements.
A 6-0 vote approved the request with Rogers abstaining
The last annexation companion ordinance sought an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance and map by establishing the initial zoning as medium industrial for the entire 110 acres of the newly annexed area.
The action passed by a 6–0 vote with Rogers abstaining.
Public hearings were held for the proposed annual operating budget and the 2017-18-tax rate. There were no speakers for either.
City finance director Ann Honza told the council the ad valorem tax rate of $0.708244, M&O: $0.367873; I&S $0.340371 per $100 valuations would generate $11,126,372 at a 100-percent collection rate for M&O and $10,294,570 for I&S.
As this was a public hearing, there was no vote taken. The final public hearing on the tax rate will be during the Sept. 5 meeting. The council will vote to accept the tax rate at a meeting to be held on Sept. 12 at 6 pm in the council chambers.
Following an executive session, the board approved the hiring of Bradley Brown as the new, and first, director of the Midlothian Parks and Recreation Department.
In other action, the following items were unanimously approved:
Consider and act upon a resolution authorizing the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce Fall Festival & 5K, scheduled for Saturday, October 21, 2017. Consider and act upon the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce’s request to expend $3,037.00 of Municipal Hotel/Motel Tax monies for advertisement and other related expenditures for the 2017 Fall Festival. 2017-324 Consider and act upon a Joint Election Contract for Election Services with the Ellis County. Conduct a public hearing and consider and act upon an ordinance amending the City of Midlothian Subdivision Regulations by amending Section 6.14 “Lots,” Subsection 5 and Subsection 6 relating to lots on which on-site sewage facilities are installed. Consider and act upon an ordinance of the City of Midlothian, Texas, amending the Code of Ordinances by amending Chapter 3 titled “Utilities” by amending Article 13.03 titled “Sanitary Sewer Connection” by amending Section 13.03.003 titled “Connection required” by providing new requirements for connection of an on-site sewage facility to the city’s sanitary sewer system.