WE DID IT! Prop A passed with 87% in favor!
Waiting now for Governor Abbott to sign HB347 giving ALL counties Tier 2 status.
First - We won our Ellis county election! YAY! A HUGE thank you to everyone who made this possible, and, most important, who went to the polls and VOTED!
Second - We are optimistic that other Texas counties will also win with HB347. During our election campaign, we were also following and supporting HB347 in the Texas legislature. This bill will give all counties Tier 2 benefits so no other county has to go through the grueling petitioning and election campaigning we and a few other counties have endured.
This bill was passed by the House, then passed by the Senate with an amendment that allowed certain annexations already in process to proceed. Then the House approved it as amended. The bill is now waiting for the governor to sign it.
The fact that all Tier 2 elections approved the measures by overwhelming majorities, and the most recent county elections--Ellis and Montague, scored 87% and 91% respectively--signals to the governor that a great many voting citizens expect him to follow their lead.
Meanwhile, stay alert to city activities near you! Achieving Tier 2 status means we get to vote anytime a city wants to annex us. So we must remain vigilant and be aware of our nearby cities' activities.
Many thanks to everyone who participated in this achievement!
(TOP) Louis Ponder speaks to Commissioners.
(BOTTOM) Unanimous vote (with applause).
Second hurdle cleared!
On September 11, 2018, the Ellis County Commissioners Court unanimously approved our request for an opportunity to vote for Tier 2 status in the May 4, 2019 special election.
The first hurdle was to collect petition signatures from at least 10% of the county voters.
The third hurdle will be to educate voters next spring and encourage them to vote FOR the Tier 2 proposition.
After that, it is up to us voters to stay aware of any cities' efforts to annex our neighborhoods, to alert our neighbors to such efforts, and to vote every time an annexation proposition appears on a ballot.
We did it!!
August 10, 2018: Final numbers were revealed at official handoff to the Ellis County Elections office 8/9/18.
- Total number of signatures gathered = 13,347
- Number of validated signatures less duplicates = 11,578
- Minimum number needed (10% of registered voters) = 9,484
- Buffer (number of validated signatures over the minimum) = 2,094
Many huge thanks to everyone who made this possible!
Texas state rep, John Wray (L) with petition project co-founder, Louis Ponder (R)
STOP FORCED ANNEXATION IN ELLIS COUNTY
DID YOU KNOW that, currently, cities in Ellis County can annex, or expand into, rural areas and neighborhoods without getting voters' approvals?
It's true. But YOU have the power to change that as a registered Ellis County voter!
We need YOUR help to get a measure on the ballot to let us vote to reclassify Ellis as a "Tier 2" county so neighboring cities have to get our approval before they can expand into our neighborhoods and properties.
We need a raw total of 11,000 signatures from Ellis County voters (including those inside and outside city limits) by Aug 6 in order to get the measure on the ballot for May 2019 without losing any signatures. (After that date, some of our oldest signatures begin to expire.)
Here's how YOU can help...
Please click the link to find the location closest to you to sign one of the petitions. We have binders in businesses and homes throughout Ellis County for your convenience! Or see Step #2 to print your own petitions.
Download and print the petition to sign. Print your info clearly & include your voter ID# if you have it. To meet our goal of 11,000 signatures by August 6, we need all your friends and neighbors to sign too. Hurry! Time is running out.
If you have signed and/or collected other signatures, please feel free to add your pages to one of our location binders.
Or you can email us at StopAnnexEllis@gmail.com
for a mailing address, or to arrange for a pick up.
We need lots of volunteers to help us in a variety of ways: working tables, block-walking, getting permissions, tracking progress, verifying voter info, and just being creative! Click the button for more information, or email us at StopAnnexEllis@gmail.com if you or anyone you know can help.
When you see the measure on the ballot, vote IN FAVOR of making Ellis County a Tier 2 county. Read the ballot carefully because the wording may be confusing.
And once we have Tier 2 status, be sure to vote in every election that proposes annexation in order to exercise your right to choose.
We are about FREEDOM!
Many of us enjoy the freedom of living in the country and have invested a lot of money and time - sometimes generations - building our lives here. We want to protect our land and our dreams.
Pros and Cons of Annexation. While some may prefer the benefits of being part of a city, there are downsides too, including higher taxes, increased regulations, and costly infrastructure requirements. Even then, cities have no obligation to provide any new services.
Louis Ponder, a business owner who has faced the consequences of involuntary annexation by the city of Midlothian, describes the issue this way.
"Some landowners may choose to annex for a variety of reasons (e.g., water, trash pickup, restrictions that prevent unsavory businesses). However, landowners who are forced to become city residents have no vote. They acquire the debt a city has incurred and are now responsible to pay taxes to a government they did not have any voice in electing. Becoming a city resident restricts what we can do with our land (higher taxes, parking on unimproved surfaces, burning, pet & livestock limits, hunting, building permits, sprinkler systems, and extensive costs for the landowner to hook up to the city water and septic systems)."
Still, we are willing to accept annexation if it is "the will of the people."
We aren't opposed to annexation.
We just want the right to choose.
~ CONTACT US today for more information!
What exactly are you trying to do here?
The Annexation Law. Currently, under the new Municipal Annexation Reform law of 2017, only 12 of the largest counties in Texas are classified as Tier 2 counties in which residents can vote for or against annexation. Ironically, most, if not all, residents in those counties are already within a city’s limits.
All the remaining 242 counties (including Ellis) are Tier 1, and are vulnerable to being annexed without voters’ approval.
The Petition. For now, the only way citizens like us in Tier 1 counties can have a voice in the annexation decision is to reclassify the county as a Tier 2 county. To do that we need signatures from 10% of the county’s Active-status voters on a petition asking for a Tier 2 status vote. To account for disqualified entries, we need at least 11,000 total signatures.
Once we submit the signatures, the issue can be included on the ballot in the next election. If voters approve the Tier 2 status, the next step is to watch for any elections in which neighboring cities are asking for our approval to annex new areas, and to vote to make our voices heard!
As of mid-May 2018, we had a little over 2000 signatures. We've gained considerable steam since then, reaching 9,000 as of July 6! But we still need lots of help to reach our goal.
Many volunteers can make it possible. The best way to get that job done in such a short time is to have a great many citizens gathering signatures and working behind the scenes. The more volunteers we have, the fewer signatures each of us has to get.
So let’s get all our friends and neighbors onboard today!
With YOUR help, we CAN do it!
CONTACT US TODAY to find out what you can do.
Although we missed the July deadline to get the measure on the November 2018 ballot, we can still reach our goal for the May 2019 ballot.
What's equally important is to fight for ALL Texas counties, so their citizens don't have to waste enormous amounts of time, energy and money fighting for rights our forefathers gave their lives for: the consent of the governed.
If all 242 Tier 1 counties go through the same labor-intensive process as Ellis County, collecting an average of 15,000 signatures, Texas voters will have to gather more than 3.6 MILLION signatures...just to secure the right to vote on annexation in every county across the state!
That just ain't right.
We hope that future legislation will amend this law to automatically grant voters the right to choose in all Texas counties, without the need for massive petitioning efforts like these. But we also know that lobbyists for cities, businesses and other interests apply considerable pressure on Austin lawmakers to make it easy for cities to expand at will.
That's why we all need to urge our state representatives to permanently expand Tier 2 status to ALL Texas counties, sooner rather than later, so landowners throughout Texas can enjoy the same right to choose.