Cedar Creek Lake

Because Life is Better at the Lake

New annexation law targets Cedar Creek Lake area

by

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has written for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. He is now a freelancer who lives in the Cedar Creek Lake area.





The Municipal Annexation Right to Vote Act, a priority on Governor
Abbott’s Special Session call, was passed this week after an amendment by
State Rep. Lance Gooden that included Henderson County into the bill. The
amendment was one of four successful amendments, while twenty-six
amendments failed to secure passage in the House.



The bill requires consent by residents being annexed into a municipality
through either an election or petition process when the city is located in a
county with a population of 500,000; however, an amendment by Gooden
late Friday creatively included “any county in the state with a Texas
Freshwater Fisheries Center operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife”.
Henderson County is the only county in Texas with a Texas Freshwater
Fisheries Center.



“I was approached by hundreds of property owners outside of Athens that
felt it was unfair for only residents in large-populated counties to enjoy the
protections of this bill,” Gooden stated. “I knew the votes weren’t there to
get all of Texas into the bill, and so I was able to convince my colleagues
that Henderson County should enjoy these protections.”



Lake Athens Property Owners Association President Todd Garrett
expressed extreme satisfaction on the part of Lake Athens homeowners.
“We worked with Lance Gooden over the summer and we’re thrilled he’s
delivered real protection to Henderson County. We are fortunate to have
an effective representative in Austin,” Garrett continued. “This was a big
win for Henderson County.”



Currently, municipal annexation is a cumbersome and involuntary process
that can last up to four years with limited input from property owners
living in areas proposed for annexation. Under current law, many cities
annex areas simply to boost their tax base while ignoring and passing over
poorer areas in desperate need of city services. Other areas are annexed
for limited purposes, meaning residents must follow city ordinances and
sometimes even pay city taxes despite living outside the municipality and
having no elected representation.



“I’ve never heard a convincing argument for why voters shouldn’t be able
to decide whether or not to be annexed,” Gooden stated. “Some day I
suspect the entire state will enjoy protections like those we’ve secured this
week, but I’m thrilled Henderson County is one of ten counties that will
enjoy these protections until that day arrives.”


 




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