Waxahachie taxes property, but homeowner not allowed to vote
By 05/29/2003 00:00:00
The Ellis County Press
WAXAHACHIE - Bob Przyblski and his wife take care of Mary Ellen Dale and her farm on Sterret Road, and helps her with paying city taxes despite having no running water - toilet water is pumped from a nearby pond.
Dale, 87, a retired schoolteacher, has taught some of the city's most prominent business leaders like Citizens National Bank President Mark Singleton and former county treasurer candidate and local Certified Public Accountant Mike Grant.
'They can't supply me with any water and they don't care to supply me,' said Przyblski. 'The city manager says he can't do nothing for me. Why do I have to pay city taxes? I should have some rights. All they want is my money. If I don't pay, they take my land - so where's the fairness, where's the justice?'
Waxahachie City Manager Bob Sokoll, in a letter sent to Przyblski, said the city's contract is with Rockett Special Utility District. Rockett officials said their nearest water line, capable of serving Dale's property, must be extended; the catch, though, is that property owners must pay for the extension.
Rockett stated, in letters to Przyblski, a group of property owners could get together and chip in for a bigger water line to service the area. Currently, a nearby business on Highway 77 is the closest water line hookup, but it's too small, according to the letter.
Additionally, Waxahachie annexed the property in 2001, but has not allowed Dale to vote in municipal elections.
'Get my water out there, I'm paying, what, $500 for city taxes? Here they have a contract with Rockett to supply water,' Przyblski said, who has had taxes on the property go up each year.
Przyblski's problems get worse, however.
Dale and both Bob and wife Marie Przyblski, are locked in to an irrevocable trust; because of medical problems and her age, Dale put the Przyblski's as heads of the estate upon her death, making them owners of the property.
The Baylor Health Care System Foundation came to Dale, offering to purchase 20 acres of the front of her property for their organization after they told her how much in property taxes she would have to pay.
'When she first got into it, they scared her with taxes,' said Marie Przyblski. 'They scared her into it.'
The Przyblski's contacted an attorney disputing that claim, and have taken the case to court, where it remains 'in limbo.'
'If at any time during my life I am unable to care for myself or make decisions regarding my medical needs or requirements, Bob and Marie have my consent to act in my behalf,' stated Dale in court documents. 'I have adopted both Marie and Bob as my daughter and son. They have checked on me daily since 1991.'
The foundation tried selling the top part of the property, or 21 acres, for $94,000. Dale contracted, according to the court documents, with state Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, for buying the property back for $110,000 after Baylor refused to sell her back the property.
'Is this the way Baylor treats their benefactors? I now know I have made a mistake and I want my land back,' Dale stated. 'Under the trust, I have the right to terminate your interest. If we cannot resolve this, I intend to do so.'
When the situation with Baylor surfaced, though, Pitts backed out from representing Dale. It is believed, according to Bob Przyblski, that Pitts dropped his client because of his claim to over 100 acres of property located near his farm, much of it on two sides of Interstate Highway 35.
Meanwhile, the Przyblski's are still trying to get a water connection to their property and still must fight Baylor.
'They say they can't do anything? Then get me out of the city limits. Take your water and stick it,' Przyblski said. 'They're [Baylor] a non-profit organization and taking money from a 87-year-old woman. They should be helping people, not hindering them. They've been taking it from her for years. She was entitled to it with the original set up.
'Do they want her to die?'