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By JESSIE HORTON
DUBLIN (March 9, 2015) — The Dublin City Council is still eyeing property surrounding it’s city limits.
Melvin ‘Mac’ McMullen gave the council a report from the North Texas Council of Governments annexation meeting. He informed them there were a number of options for cities annexing property. The main ones included annexing land that is vacant or has less than three qualified voters on it; if the city is already providing water or sewer services to a property and police services; or a majority of the qualified voters agree and sign a petition wanting the annexation.
McMullen said the meeting also explained a number of misconceptions about annexation including that a property owner cannot keep their land exemption on property that has been annexed. He said all land exemptions would be honored, but the city could tax any improvements made on the property after annexation. Another misconception is that property that has been annexed cannot be unannexed. Again, McMullen said this was untrue, and if the council votes to annex the property, it can become part of the county again. Lastly, McMullen told the council residents who live on property that is annexed do not have to pay a fee or be tied into city services.
In other business, the council declared March 16-22 Poison Prevention Week and tabled a request regarding the Erath County Crime Stoppers from Ronnie Horton.
Before adjourning, the council heard from Wooldridge and City Secretary Rhonda Williams regarding the vote to approve a move from a ward system to an at large vote for the 2016 election.
“When Jim (Leatherwood) made the motion last month, he said he wasn’t sure that keeping eight council members was legal,” Williams reminded the council. “When we spoke to the city attorney, she informed us the at large system is five council members and a mayor, meaning you cannot have eight members on the council.”
Alderman Layne Golden expressed concern about representation for all wards if the election went to an at large vote. But Jim Leatherwood said it would be easier to have meetings because only three would be required to have a quorum. However, he also suggested to hold an election for each seat instead of allowing the seats to go to the top five percentage of votes. This would require candidates to specify which seat they were running for, but all the voters in the city could vote for each seat.
Though the members seemed split on the idea of going down to only five council members, no action could be taken as it was listed for discussion only on the agenda. It was tabled until more information could be found.