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Last week’s McKinney City Council meeting was a disaster for property rights, and a continuation of the city’s big government tax-and-spend philosophy. A majority of city officials are pushing through yet another land grab before a new law protecting taxpayers goes into effect in December of 2017.

The city’s proposal (17-936) would forcibly annex large blocks of land in the northwest quadrant of McKinney’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) – unincorporated land adjacent to city boundaries that under current law can be annexed without the owners’ consent. There is a 91-day window or delay before the new property rights protections found in Senate Bill 6 take effect on December 1, 2017. The delay – in part – can be attributed to the fact that the bill passed during the special session, instead of the regular session.

The reform essentially requires landowner approval for a city government who seeks to annex them. Annexation is the process by which a city expands its boundaries, and as a result, imposes its taxes and regulations on the newly annexed land owners. The new law intentionally puts significant restrictions on forced annexation, to prevent city officials from running roughshod over taxpayers.

State Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Frisco) testified at the meeting against the city’s proposal to forcibly annex new property owners, without getting their approval, and identified the reason for the lengthy time between law’s passage and the date it goes into effect.

The bill passed with less than a two-thirds majority of House lawmakers; thus it cannot take effect for 91 days after the end of the special session. State lawmakers who supported the reform did not intentionally create this delay. In other words, this waiting period was not intended to be a last chance opportunity for cities like McKinney to pillage, plunder, and grab as much new property as possible before the law took effect.

Unfortunately, that message never got through to four members on the McKinney City Council.

A large crowd of McKinney taxpayers registered their views, with many publicly speaking during public comment. The publicly voiced view was 98 percent against the proposal to start the land grab process. There was one person who supported it. So, as you might guess with newly elected Mayor George Fuller, with his urging, the council voted to ignore the citizens and proceed with forced annexation.

With many thanks to them, Charlie Philips, Chuck Branch, and Scott Elliott acknowledged their campaign promises to honor property rights and voted against the proposal. Kudos to all three.

The “Blue City Boys” – so named because the mayors of the Peoples Republic of Austin, San Francisco and New York would be proud to call them colleagues – Fuller, Rainey Rogers, and La’Shadion Shemwell voted as expected to ignore property rights and citizen desires. The vote came down to Tracy Rath, who had said nothing during the discussion. She was the swing vote and, unfortunately, voted for the proposal to start the forced annexation procedure.

Rath previously supported the Arch Resorts and Custer Storage land grabs, so we can move her out of the conservative camp and into the liberal block. We had thought she would stand up for conservative principles during her tenure on council – I am terribly disappointed that she has not.

The land grab measure passed 4-3.