Belton: Residents continue to fight annexation

(Photo by Alex Cano)
(Photo by Alex Cano)(KWTX)
Published: Jan. 17, 2018 at 6:56 PM CST
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Some Bell County residents have been fighting efforts to bring them into the Belton city limits since receiving notice of the annexation in September 2017.

The City of Belton’s website says annexation means that the county residents will receive such services as garbage pickup, and emergency response.

School district boundaries would not change.

But not everyone agrees that annexation is a good thing.

“It’s un-Texan and un-American to pull someone into the city limits without their consent that's what we think it's an individual property rights issue,” resident Amy Cook said.

Cook is with the group Empower Bell County Texans, which is behind an effort to block the annexation.

To do that, they’re hoping to take advantage of a state law that went into effect on Dec. 1 that limits the annexation powers of Texas cities, requiring them to seek the consent of property owners before annexing their land.

The new law was effective immediately in counties of more than 500,000 residents, but residents of counties such as Bell, whose populations are less than 500,000, must opt in to the law’s provisions.

The group is hoping to put the issue before voters in November, but to do that, it needs the signatures of 10 percent of the county’s registered voters or about 20,000 residents.

The city held several meetings at which residents citizens voiced their concerns about the annexation.

But Cook says some people just don't want to live the city life.

“I want to drive out of my driveway at night and see the stars in the sky. I want to hear the cows in the pasture. I want to see the city only from the office window,” she said.

The group will be collecting signatures at several public events in the next few weeks.