As most citizens know, former Anna Mayor Mike Crist and councilman Kenneth Pelham both resigned from their positions. These two resignations have spurred a mandatory election in November.
Out of the four residents who have put their names on the ballot for the empty seat, one local software engineer has announced his desire to be on the city council. William “Bill” Morgan has been a resident of Anna for over nine years and now wishes to serve the community as a council member.
Morgan said issues with past city council decisions propelled him to run for council. “For the last several years, I have been having more and more issues with the decisions that have been made for our city,” Morgan said. “This finally came to a head when I heard about the city threatening to use eminent domain in conjunction with the Foster Crossing water line.”
Attending the special town hall meeting for the Foster Crossing eminent domain and speaking out against it motivated Morgan to begin attending the city council meetings.
“The more I saw how things were being run, the more unhappy I became,” he said.
Even though Morgan has never served on a board in a governmental capacity, he is on the Home Owner’s Association Board for the Falls. He is currently attending the Citizen’s Academy and volunteered to be on the Charter Review Committee. Morgan said he wants to see Anna succeed, especially with the growth it is currently experiencing.
“I want Anna to be a place where people can expect their elected officials to listen to their needs and concerns. I know the city will grow and that we need to attract businesses. I just want to make sure that we have an intelligent well thought out plan for the development. We need to keep those aspects that originally drew most of us to live in Anna and provide for the cities future. Development for developments sake will destroy our city. We do not need to attract developers they are already beating down our door. We need to do whatever we can to entice the developers to build projects that will enhance our city and improve the lives of our residents.”
Morgan added that he is in favor of a new city hall — just not sure about the price tag.
“I am in favor of a bond measure in whatever amount can be conservatively supported by the increased sales tax revenue generated by Walmart. I do not agree that the money should be spent on a 16 million dollar city hall. We have much more pressing needs. In my mind, a new police station and fire station tie for the top priority. There are issues that currently restrict our options on a fire station, so I would propose that the first project undertaken with the bond money be a new police station. As soon as the issues holding up a new fire station are resolved that project should be started immediately. After these critical safety infrastructure projects are completed, we can revisit the idea of a new city hall. The plans presented are entirely wrong for our city. The roof top garden and reflecting pond are not a good idea in this part of Texas. The proposed building is too big for our needs even going into the future. The site has enough space to allow us to add additional office buildings over time as our needs grow. Planning for a municipal complex is better than building a monstrosity that no one will like in just a few years.”
The past year has seen a few meetings over eminent domain, and Morgan said he believes it should only be used as a last resort.
“The city should not use it as a stick to force landowners to bow to the city’s plans. The city needs to consider the needs of the individuals, as well as the needs of the community. I believe our residents are reasonable people and if the city has a real need for rights to privately held property and they make these reasons know articulately to the citizens affected I am sure that with the right incentive the city can arrive at an equitable agreement without the treat or use of eminent domain.”
When asked about annexation, Morgan said he believes it is inevitable. However,he said there are ways to approach it. “I think the city needs to handle it better when the need for annexation arises again. The people living in the annexation area need to be fully informed of the reasons the annexation is being proposed. They need to know what benefits they will receive by being annexed. They need to know exactly how the annexation could negatively affect them as well. The city should endeavor to gain buy in from the majority of people living in the area to be annexed. This should be done before the process has moved too far along to avoid the problems we had with the last attempt at annexation.”
Morgan said he thinks the new logo for the city would not have been such a big issue if the council would have been in on the decision making. “The sad thing about this situation is that the first $85,000 we spent resulted in a logo that virtually no one likes. This has led to the city going back and choosing a different logo. This logo is not much better that the first logo that was rejected. Going forward with this second logo will cost us another $10,000 to $12,000 dollars to complete. This brings the price tag to nearly $100,000 without having a single sign made, car painted or letterhead printed. This could have been done cheaper and with better results if the city council had been more involved in the process. I have heard from council members that they had no idea what designs were being considered until after the proposed design was unveiled.”