The creation of the newest municipality in Hunt County has been approved, but not before a last-minute change in the boundaries of the community.
The Hunt County Commissioners Court voted in a special session Tuesday to formally canvass the results of the Nov. 3 election and approving the documents related to the Poetry incorporation election.
The election saw 38,740 people cast ballots, representing a 65.27 percent turnout of the county’s 59,350 voters. The total turnout and the percentage were both records for an election in the county, which went along with the 25,817 early votes, also another local record.
Among the many items up for consideration on the ballots was Hunt County Proposition A, which asked voters if they would be in favor of the incorporation of the community of Poetry in the far south end of the county, and crossing into Kaufman County as a Type A Municipality to be named the Town of Poetry, Texas.
Voters said yes, with 422 ballots in favor (73.01 percent) to 156 votes in opposition (26.99 percent).
Before taking on the official canvass, the commissioner heard from Gregory Shumpert, one of the city attorneys for the city of Terrell, who said officials with the city had raised concerns one of the borders designated for the Town of Poetry crossed into the extraterritorial jurisdiction, known as the ETJ, of the city of Terrell. Shumpert stressed that the official city position was neither in favor or against the creation of the town.
“If the majority of the voters wish that to be the case, then that is fine with us,” Shumpert said. “They voted it and that’s fine.”
The issue, Shumpert said, was the “very small area” in which Terrell’s ETJ and the Town of Poetry’s border cross each other.
An ETJ is defined as a zone which extends a certain area outside of a city limits, a region in which the city has some limited authority as to issue relating to infrastructure such as guidelines on street width, thickness and pavement and sanitary sewer regulations.
“We do not wish to give up any of our ETJ, at least not at this point,” Shumpert said, adding that state law does not permit one city to incorporate on another’s ETJ. “We would ask that, when your order is entered, that that area that’s below and in our ETJ be excluded.”
Other than that, Shumpert said the city of Terrell would be happy to welcome its newest neighbor.
“Our mayor and our city manager have already made that abundantly clear to everyone,” he said.
There was one other wrinkle that Shumpert said Hunt County Civil Attorney Daniel Ray brought up Tuesday morning, in that a family with property inside Terrell’s ETJ had expressed interest in being part of the Town of Poetry.
“But state law just doesn’t permit that right now,” Shumpert said, noting the property owner can request the city of Terrell to exclude the tract from the ETJ in the future.
Hunt County Elections Administrator Jose Martinez then presented the results of the remainder of the Nov. 3 ballots, during which the county’s voters remained strongly in support of the Republican Party, with GOP candidates in each race winning by wide margins.
Local voters also participated in several key local issues. Greenville residents approved freezing property taxes for senior citizens, allowed liquor sales and passed a $4.9 million bond proposal for expanding Monty Stratton Parkway.
Caddo Mills residents adopted a $90 million bond proposal for a new high school and other improvements.
Voters in the city of Campbell voted to allow beer and wine sales at local stores.
The commissioners voted 4-0 to formally adopt the results of the election.
County Judge Bobby Stovall was not present for the meeting.