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CAROA disbands; Red Oak annexation threat defeated

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The Ellis County Press

FERRIS - After stopping the City of Red Oak's attempt to grab parts of land toward Interstate 45, the Citizens Against Red Oak Aggression disbanded on Thursday Aug. 28, but not before declaring victory.

During their last CAROA meeting, the citizens group awarded $2,000 to the Ellis County Rural Fire District No. 6, thanking them for their support during the annexation crisis.

The rural fire district of Ferris gave $5,000 to CAROA to help Ferris fight against Red Oak's land grab. Many others donated money to the group, but none contributed such a large amount.

CAROA officials decided any unused monies would be returned to the fire district when the citizen's

group disbanded.

Mark Hope, treasurer for the Ellis County Rural Fire District said he was happy to accept the money from CAROA.

Hope said the money would be put to good use within the fire district.

CAROA Treasurer Dave Bennett said thanks to CAROA vice-president Steve Salmon for all the knocking on doors he did.

According to CAROA, the City of Red Oak launched a sneaky, but massive annexation push last summer, attempting to acquire land all the way to Interstate 45 around the cities of Ferris, Palmer and Trumbull.

'Nobody from Red Oak would explain why they wanted to annex the area,' said Salmon, who is also president of the Ellis County Fire District in the Ferris area.

Salmon, who helped spearhead the committee which would later become CAROA to warn unsuspecting property owners of Red Oaks intentions, was alerted to the proposed annexation after receiving a letter from the city manager of Red Oak saying his property was in the annexation's path.

To minimize the number of homes they would have to service, Red Oak snaked its annexation plan from their city limits through FM 983 to I-45 and Risinger, said Salmon.

Organized meetings were held throughout the city to educate property owners on how to protect their land.

Ferris Mayor Jimmie Birdwell vowed to fight Red Oak every step of the way to keep them from invading Ferris' outlaying areas.

Ferris allowed property owners to voluntarily annex into the city's Extra Territorial Jurisdiction to avoid being forcibly annexed into Red Oak.

Property owners brought into the city's ETJ do not pay city property taxes or get city services.

Thirty-six property owners were successfully annexed into Ferris' ETJ between Sept. 16, 2002 and March 17, 2003.

Ferris' ETJ borders now expand eastward to I-45, southbound to Risinger Road and westbound to Palmyra Road; successfully blocking any possibility Red Oak could ever resume its original plan.

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