Not without a fight
Activists hinder Midlothian’s annexation plan
The Ellis County Press
MIDLOTHIAN – You’ll see them at ground-breaking ceremonies or ribbon cuttings or council meetings.
The main thing Midlothian’s Rural Citizens Against Annexation wants the public to know is that a fight over city hall’s attempts to annex several hundred people is still ongoing.
"RCAA’s members are disappointed in the actions of the city, but we’re still fighting this annexation in several ways," said Bill Redding, who does not want to be a City of Midlothian resident. "We’re trying to let them know they really don’t want us. They’ll get tax money, but after subtracting what it will take to maintain the required city services, we don’t feel it will be that profitable.
"After the money they’ve spent fighting us – and the money they’ll continue to spend fighting us if we’re not provided the services as required by law – it could be many years before they realize any profit from the annexation."
Despite what RCAA members calls misleading newspaper articles in the town’s only newspaper, the Mirror, a recent arbitration ruling did not factor in Midlothian’s annexation plans – just a service plan that RCAA members rejected.
"The citizens of Midlothian are beginning to realize their services will be diluted if we are annexed, and they are communicating with their elected officials," Redding says of his group, which reaches into about 100 active members. "Their police department is already stretched thin, and the annexation will only lessen their services."
Midlothian’s city council will vote in November on whether to annex three large tracts that include several hundred potential residents. But RCAA is already having an impact on the city council, with the election of maverick Councilman Ken Chambers last year.
"If annexed, we’ll represent a large enough voting block to control every election this city has," Redding said. "Why a city would want to force hostile residents into a city makes no sense. Their ‘shotgun wedding’ will have an impact if it is forced on us, and we will gladly run for office and help clean up this city for all of the residents of Midlothian."
Ironically, in one of the city council contests, incumbent Dusty Fryer – who was originally elected in the mid-90s on an anti-annexation platform – faces RCAA-backed Ricky Long on May 10. Anti-annexation forces are also backing Bob Johnson in an open race that features Freda Wash and Bill Houston.
"We find it so hypocritical that Don Hastings, the city manager, lives outside the city," Redding said. He pays city taxes to try to make up for it, but still wants to maintain his rural quality of life. The next scheduled annexation goes right up to his subdivision, but doesn’t annex it. While he will gladly tell us to get rid of our animals and change our way of life, he’s not willing to tell his wife to get rid of her donkey."
Until that November vote, RCAA hopes its two candidates create a bloc of property rights-advocates, a force that will continue to fight.
For more information, visit www.rcaa.us.