MESQUITE (1080 KRLD) – It seems the City of Mesquite can’t quite let the annexation issue go.
In a video posted to Facebook over the weekend, Mesquite City Manager Cliff Keheley tries to blame the people on the other side of the fight.
“During the process, there were many misperceptions and mischaracterizations about what we were trying to do versus the reality of what we were actually intending to do” said Keheley.
Keheley pointed to how Mesquite handled the process, which Attorney General Ken Paxton said violated state law.
“From day one, we wanted to have an inclusive process. We notified property owners. We held more public hearings than were required by law. We studied the area and took into account the information provided by all property owners” said Keheley. “All meetings were recorded and videos were made available to the public. Speakers were allowed to talk beyond traditional time limits. Many of the accusations about our process claim that what we were doing was illegal or that we, in some way, violated rules. We disagree.”
The city of Mesquite missed a December 1st deadline to forcibly annex about a dozen properties. A court order kept council from voting on it.
“The reason for our urgency in this matter was that the legislature recently changed the rules on how cities can annex. They gave Texas cities a deadline of December 1st. With this deadline in place, the city began its process to determine what properties, if any, should be annexed. Annexation is vital to the economic health to any community, especially in Mesquite,” said Keheley. The new law says property owners, not city councils, get to vote on whether they want to be annexed.
State Representative Lance Gooden, who fought for landowners, called the video “shameful” and said “[Keheley] has insulted the people of Dallas and Kaufman Counties, questioned the integrity of the judicial process, and is either following orders or has lost his mind.”
Last week, Mesquite promised to not pursue annexation any more. In turn, the legal cases were dropped.
Keheley said in the video that they’ll look at “other ways to expand their boundaries,” but he didn’t explain exactly how they would do that.
“We are excited about the future opportunities in Mesquite, especially along the I-20 corridor. We look forward to the new commerical and residential developments we expect to see over the next decade,” said Keheley.