Los Escondidos annexation battle continues

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By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula on June 4, 2014. 8 Comments

In what has become a prolonged and complicated battle over whether the neighborhood of Los Escondidos should be annexed by the city of Marble Falls, the city council on Tuesday night voted 5 votes to 2 to approve the most recent draft of the development agreement, which would allow the neighborhood to avoid annexation for five years, pending signatures of approval from enough residents in the small neighborhood.

The council was divided between annexation or having residents pay a $75 monthly assessment fee on their water bills. Most residents in the neighborhood are opposed to annexation partly because the assessment fee would be the cheaper option for them, letting them avoid city taxes.

“We just want to be left alone,” said Los Escondidos resident Tom Bornschein, echoing the sentiments of residents who attended the city council meeting.

After an hour-long private executive session and further animated discussion with Los Escondidos residents afterward, council member Raymond Whitman made a motion to approve the agreement once 50 percent of land owners and 90 percent of water customers in the neighborhood sign the agreement.

For the full story, see Friday’s Highlander.

8 Responses to Los Escondidos annexation battle continues

  1. Steve   June 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    There are other areas that Just wanted to be left alone too and not get annexed into this DEBT ridden city but had it crammed down their throats. Why do these residents think they are special. I mean they are about to have new water lines, fire hydrants and repaved roads. Previously annexed areas did not get any of these things yet they pay involuntary taxes for the unlucky case of being stuck in the city limits.

    Reply
  2. Bob Dog   June 5, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Wow, Steve, when did not wanting to be a part of the DEBT ridden city of Marble Falls equate to being “special”? One injustice means everyone else should suffer, too?

    Here’s one nugget of info that you should know: the City of MF supplies water to Los Escondidos, and Los Escondidos has been under a BOIL WATER notice for 9 months. Special enough for you?

    Reply
  3. Steve   June 5, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Well Bob Dog. There have been many injustices that this Debt Ridden city has done over the last 6 years.Other involuntary annexations came about and these areas DO NOT have water,sewer or any other services that cities are obligated to provide. Yet the last I read the city voted to Spend almost 800k getting Los Escondidos new water lines,fire hydrants and repaving the roads. Does that area pay city taxes. NO they do not. So yea Special is the right word.

    Reply
  4. Bob Dog   June 6, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Steve,

    Sorry, but you are misinformed. The City BOUGHT a failed water system for Los Escondidos from the LCRA. The water that is delivered is polluted with orange rust and dirt and at some points is unchlorinated. It has been declared unfit to drink.

    The reason the City is spending $800k to fix the water system is: BECAUSE THEY OWN IT, and are legally obligated to supply drinkable water. No one in Los Escondidos wanted the City to buy our water system from the LCRA.

    After all is finished, the Los Escondidos residents will merely have drinkable water and a patched road. That’s not “special treatment”.

    Reply
  5. Steve   June 6, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Sorry Bob Dog. But I am very well informed. I knew the City bought the system. That,s old news. I also Know they are Legally Obligated to supply Drinkable water to all areas of the city including the areas that are Annexed Involuntarily. And these areas were annexed WELL before they bought that water system from LCRA. Los Escondidos should have been put off until after the city Fulfilled its other Legal obligations. So Even when you have that New water line,fire hydrants and the patched road or get a 5 year deal to not pay city taxes you still have more then the annexed areas which got zilch but ARE paying taxes. So tell me now. Who has got the better deal?

    Reply
  6. Lindsay   June 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Steve,

    You and I had lengthy comments when the last article about Los Escondidos ran in the paper.

    You may be informed about the City and the Los Escondidos water system, but you don’t seem to understand the development agreement that was approved Tuesday evening.

    Here’s the bottom line: the City IS debt-ridden; it owns the Los Escondidos water line and must replace it; and it has to figure out how to pay for it. In addition, the City has been given a deadline to replace the water line before it incurs fines from TCEQ.

    Annexation is one solution to pay for the water line; however, the residents have been told, on record, if annexed, they would receive no road improvements and no centralized sewer. The City feels it has met its obligations. Basically, these residents would become just like the other neighborhoods that have been annexed and not provided additional services.

    Because these residents want to avoid this type of situation, they proposed a plan (development agreement) that says residents with water service will pay the City a $75/month assessment fee, in addition to their water bills, to service the debt needed to pay for the water line replacement and road repair in exchange for a delay in annexation. This is a good deal for the City because it allows the City to fund the project with money from Los Escondidos residents, not City taxpayers.

    Los Escondidos residents are getting a delay in annexation, but they’re the ones actually paying for the new water line and road repairs.

    Your anger about annexation is better directed at the City, not residents of Los Escondidos.

    Lindsay Plante

    Reply
  7. Steve   June 6, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Lindsay. I dont have any Anger “as you put it” towards the Los Escondidos residents.I am merely pointing out the obvious.And yes I do understand the agreement whether you think I do or not. I personally see it as a Special deal for that area when compared to others areas the city involuntarily annexed. But this is what the city loves to do. Make deals with some people and tell others to eat cake.
    As far as the residents paying for that line with a 75.00 per tap assessment fee. How long will it take to pay off the cost? Will it be paid off before the 5th year delay?

    Reply
  8. Lindsay   June 10, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    The agreement states that the residents will continue to pay the assessment fee until the bond is paid or annexation, whichever occurs first. Annexation is not automatic at 5 years. The Council will have to vote to annex at that time.

    Reply

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