The Melissa City Council met Tuesday, Sept. 12 in front of a packed house at Melissa City Hall, with members of the Melissa United Methodist Church [MUMC] present to address joining Melsisa city limits.

Many of the staff and members of the MUMC have been attending the last few Melissa City Council meetings to participate in the democratic process by letting their voices be heard in two previously held public hearings. The process for annexation in the City of Melissa, whether voluntary or involuntary, requires two public hearings to be held before qualifying for a council vote. The public hearings offer all citizens the chance to speak for up to three minutes and have their voice heard before a matter is considered for a vote.

“Annexation is important,” said Tyler Ferguson, Minister of Worship, Music and Youth Ministries for MUMC. Ferguson said the annexation will be a significant boost for the church especially when considering the cost of expanding and maintaining utilities, which have been the sole responsibilities of the church.

“As opposed to having to do things on our own, such as a septic system or a well, run electricity across different lines, basically it’s all very expensive and we foot the whole cost,” Ferguson said. Development has been reaching the area where the church sits, while the staff and congregation have been looking ahead to the future and view the annexation as a long-term investment.

“When development does come up around us, we know there is a school, several residential developments and some commercial developments along that line. When they then pull utilities we actually will see some of that money back as if we had been a part of that and had been developing as well.” A majority of those who regularly attend the church are citizens and staff members of the City of Melissa.

“We worship between 180 and 200 on Sunday morning services.” Ferguson said.

The church takes pride in their parishioners and sees the annexation as the continuance of positive growth between the church and the City of Melissa.

“We want to continue our good relationship with the city, and this is another way we can do that, just to take that property into be annexed,” Ferguson said. “We can continue to be a part of the City of Melissa [where] we draw 95 percent of our congregation from, and we just want to be in good standing.” He added that the MUMC has been in city parades, sponsors local booster clubs, and tries to support the city and schools as much as possible.

The church congregation has collectively and publicly voiced support of the application for voluntary annexation of the church’s land into city limits. For the FUMC, it was a joyous occasion to witness council’s approval of the annexation of the church into the City of Melissa’s borders

Councilman Nicco Warren recused himself from the vote before the rest of council approved an ordinance approving the application for annexation of the six acres of land the Melissa United Methodist Church sits upon. The annexation guarantees the owners and inhabitants of this six acres of land the rights and privileges of all citizens of Melissa.

In other news, council approved ordinances adopting the City of Melissa city budget for the fiscal year 2017-2018, levying the tax rate for 2017 tax year, as well as a property tax increase reflected in the budget mandated by local Texas government code. Council also approved an ordinance adopting the 2017-2018 budget for the City of Melissa Industrial Development and Economic Corporation and Melissa Community and Economic Development Corporation, also known as the 4A and 4B boards, respectively.

Council approved an ordinance amending the City of Melissa’s ordinance number 92-04, regarding meter reread, service call, water meter and equipment fees. Council approved an ordinance temporarily reducing the maximum speed limit on a designated section of State Highway 121 in Melissa during construction. The ordinance provides for the notification of the speed limit through the installation of signs and markers.

Additionally, council approved a resolution granting a petition for the voluntary annexation of 97 acres of land and set the date of the first public hearing on this matter to Oct. 24 at 6 P.M. during the regular meeting of the Melissa City Council.