The #Sexit folks are at it again.
This time, they have launched a website and Facebook page.
Last time, they used the Nextdoor App in order to garner the signatures necessary on a petition to disannex most of the Village. However, that petition for the disannexation of the majority of the residential properties within the Village was rejected because the petition was improper on two grounds: it did not include metes and bounds description as part of the petition and the signatory portion of the petition was incomplete.
Expect the petition circulators of the so-called Salado Friends of the Election for Disannexation not to make those mistakes again as they are circulating the petition among their supporters.
However, on the face of the proposed map for the disannexation area, it will result in another illegality and ultimately be refused in a court of law.
State law is clear on disannexation that an area may not be disannexed under this procedure (petition and election) if the disannexation would “result in the municipality having less area than one square mile or less than one mile in diameter around the center of the original municipal boundaries.”
A quick look at a map of Salado shows that the diameter of the new Salado, should the #sexit folks be succesful, would be about 0.6 mile from West Village Road to the new eastern boundary where Van Bibber Road runs north and south.
It will take professional mapper/surveyer services to determine if the overall size of the new Village of Salado would be less than one square mile in size. Who will have to pay for those services? The #sexit folks who are trying to force a moot election down the throat of the village? They will have to pay for it (like the rest of us) in the form of fewer municipal services because of their meaningless and obstructionist behavior.
Another legal question which will have to be decided if the petition garners the necessary 50 signatures is this one: Can an area that is part of an original incorporation petition for disannexation? How can residents who were never annexed in the first place now petition for disannexation?
Make no mistake, the great majority of the boundary of area to be disannexed was part of the original incorporation election in 2000, including my home.
The Village will also have to pay its attorney to make its case in court. Whether that case will be made before or after the May election is not yet clear.
Does the Village again reject the petition based now upon the metes and bounds map and the resulting new boundaries or based on the legal issue of disannexing when you were never annexed? Or does it have to sit idly by during the noise and thunder of this divisive maneuver leading up to a May election and then pursue the legal rejection of that election?
Either way, this will be decided in the courts and will be very costly to the Village, to be sure.
Some irony here is that many in this group of unhappy citizens who want to withdraw from Salado complain about taxes in Salado. Much of the irony is the tiny amount of taxes that some of those who cry the loudest actually pay to the Village.
Some of those now advocating for disannexation served on the board of aldermen when it first adopted a ridiculously low tax rate of $0.492 per $100 evaluation. At that time in 2008, they also voted to give the highest exemptions for homesteads allowable which is 25 percent. They also voted for the local over 65 tax freeze and added another $50,000 to the property value exemption, which cannot be repealed.
There are many homeowners whose homes are appraised in market value at more than $225,000 yet pay a frozen tax of about $50 per year in property tax to the Village of Salado.
Some of these folks complain about the sewer cost and the debt tax of the village, yet they pay none of it. Ironically, if they disannex the $50 per year they pay now will be applied to the sewer debt,
State law is specific: the portion of the debt at the time of disannexation will have to be paid by those disannexed properties. Their tax amounts may not increase, but the fact is all of their property taxes will be paid toward the sewer debt.
Salado Village Voice will again request the release of the petition for publication, if it is filed with the Village.