COMMITTEE TO INCORPORATE ALAMO RANCH (CIAR)
April 25, 2015
RE: Residents of Alamo Ranch (Bexar County) to testify before the Senate Committee of Intergovernmental Relations on Annexation Reform Bill.
ALAMO RANCH, TX-On Monday, April 27, 2015, residents of far west Bexar County will testify before the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations in support of Senate Bill 615 (SB615), filed by State Sen. Konni Burton, which would establish a short window of time for residents who are targeted for annexation to file an application for incorporation without needing the permission of the annexing city. The intent of the bill is to provide a more equitable system of involuntary annexation in which residents being targeted for annexation have some rights. Other communities are expected to testify on their experiences being targeted for involuntary annexations including Wellborn, Kingsbury and Sandy Oaks.
Last week, State Rep. Rick Galindo (R-117) and resident of the Alamo Ranch area, laid out the companion bill (House Bill 2669) during which Committee members challenged San Antonio’s assertions that a city’s right to expand and grow supersedes individual rights.
The statewide movement for annexation reform has been growing this legislative session and a number of reform bills have been filed. State Sen. Donna Campbell’s SB 1639 (set for hearing on Wed.) would require the approval of residents being targeted for annexation. State Sen. Konni Burton has filed SB 616 would repeal limited purpose annexation authority from cities. Sen. Burton has also filed SB 456 which would limit extra-territorial jurisdiction to one-half mile. State Sen. Eddie Lucio’s SB 2019 would not allow a municipality’s ETJ to completely surround another city. Other reform bills have been in both the Senate and House.
The Committee to Incorporate Alamo Ranch applauds these efforts towards ETJ and annexation reform. Our current system is one sided and does not protect those Texans who live within the ETJs of other cities, nor does it provide then with many options to ensure a fair and just treatment when targeted for annexation.
CIAR Chair, Richard Cash said, “Reforming the involuntary annexation system by providing residents in the ETJ an incorporation election option will force city planners to offer better annexation proposals to those communities. I believe the State’s public policy should be to support a system that promotes better government, and not one that picks winners and losers by giving all authority to one side. A balance of power and interest is always a better approach.”.
Art Martinez de Vara, Chief of Staff for State Sen. Burton and Mayor of Von Ormy said, “Involuntary annexation is an inherently unfair system. Residents of the area targeted for annexation have no vote or say in the matter. Cities do not have rights, people have rights, and the honest question here is whether the residents of San Antonio have the right to impose their debt and regulations onto the residents of Alamo Ranch without their consent. I think the answer should be no and most San Antonians that I have spoken to about this issue agree.”
An Application for Incorporation was filled with the San Antonio City Clerk’s office on April 10th seeking permission to hold an election on the Incorporation of Alamo Ranch.
According to the Texas Comptroller’s website, involuntary annexation of Alamo Ranch by San Antonio would cast slightly over $10,000.00 per capita of debt onto the residents being annexed. For a family of four, that is over $40,000.00 in debt that they would be obligated to repay via their property taxes. This municipal debt was originally authorized by public elections because it requires the collateralization of future property taxes of San Antonio residents and should only be extended to others by consent via the same election process. The financial burden does not end there, Alamo Ranch residents would also be subject to additional sales taxes, fees and potential fines if annexed. By allowing an election on incorporation, the residents of Alamo Ranch would have a say in their local government and could choose between annexation or incorporation. San Antonio has recently allowed incorporation elections for Von Ormy and Sandy Oaks. CIAR has received letters of support from County Judge Nelson Wolff, State Rep. Rick Galindo and Bexar County Commissioner Sergio Rodriguez.
Members of the media are invited to witness the testimony of Alamo Ranch residents, which will occur at 8:30 AM before the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations in room E1.028 of the State Capitol Extention. The hearing will also be streamed live on the internet. The live video link will appear when the hearing begins on the webpage listed below.
SB 615 analysis and text: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=84R&Bill=SB615
Agenda of Committee Hearing: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/84R/schedules/html/C5202015042708301.HTM
Live Video of Hearing: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/bin/live.php
CIAR Website: www.cityofalamoranch.com
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Richard Cash firstname.lastname@example.org 210-818-1476
Art Martinez de Vara email@example.com 210-857-6848