Group rallies to stop involuntary annexation

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, September 22, 2018

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With the polls set to open in less than a month, Wise Citizens for Property Rights is kicking off its effort to pass a measure ending involuntary annexation in the county Saturday.

The group is holding an information session and serving hamburgers at Bridgeport Country Club 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today. Rep. Phil King (Republican-Weatherford) will speak at 11:30 a.m.

“We’re wanting to get people motivated to go to the polls,” said WCPR President Bryson Boyd. “This will kick off our education campaign.”

During the last year’s special session of the 85th legislature, Senate Bill 6 was approved, which does not allow cities in counties with populations larger than 500,000 to involuntarily annex land into their city limits. The bill also allows smaller counties to petition for an election to fall under a Tier 2 classification, which would prevent involuntary annexation in those counties.

In Tier 2 counties, cities must receive approval from the majority of property owners in an annexation area before expanding their boundaries.

By current law, only home rule cities in Texas have the ability to annex involuntarily. The only home rule cities currently in Wise County are Decatur, Bridgeport and Fort Worth.

WCPR gathered 6,118 signatures for its petition, which was turned in to the elections office April 30. Wise County commissioners approved putting it on the November ballot in June.

Boyd said WCPR, which formed in September 2017 to combat annexation in Bridgeport, has been getting support from around the county.

“I haven’t ran into anyone that is against it,” he said. “We’re not trying to stop cities from growing.”

The election is Nov. 6. Early voting starts Oct. 22. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 9.

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