Petition Drive Closeout Steps
Good Morning, Friends and Neighbors –
We have two weeks until we closeout the petition drive on Friday, May 18, 2018.
Here are the two steps we will take:
- Collect Forms & Signs. We ask that you return all forms and signs signed out by Jim Brooks contact info: (254-718-0194) or (Brooks.Dottie@yahoo.com) so we can account for them. If you established a partnership with a business, please thank them for their support and collect the signs, pens and folders from each location.
Close out Report. Although we do not project that we reached our goal of 20,000 signatures, we will not have an exact count until all forms have been turned in. Jim and I will prepare a close out report with a summary of signatures, donations, expenditures and lessons learned for the petition drive.
Future Efforts. As we close out the drive, our focus should not be on numbers, but on the involvement of our community to work together toward a worthy goal of ending the tyrannical practice of forced annexation. In a few short months, several amazing things happened.
First, the teamwork and collaboration on a common goal to protect property rights, underscored the fact that large number of Bell County residents do not want to see the practice of forced annexation continue in our county.
Second, the petition drive brought awareness to the negative effects of municipal annexation and the importance of holding government officials responsible for growing communities in an equitable and transparent manner.
Third, we now understand that we can change viewpoints, partner with fellow counties and possibly change the municipal annexation law at the state level. This petition drive was initiated by a group of neighbors who were faced with annexation by the City of Belton. We had a steep discovery learning curve and the desire to effect positive change. Although we expect to fall short of the goal of 20,000 signatures, we encourage continued engagement with City, County and State elected officials to protect individual property rights.
On a personal note, it has been my honor to lead the 2018 petition drive. I will be stepping down from the role of Chairperson for Empower Bell County Texans on May 31, 2018. If there is a desire to conduct another petition drive, it will need to be under a renewed non-profit or other structure. I am grateful for the experience I have had and friendships developed with my neighbors to work together to make Bell County the place we all are proud to call home.
We have 35 days until we end the 2018 petition drive.
As Thomas Jefferson said ‘Anything worth having is worth fighting for!”
We are fighting for individual property rights and a community where the rights and voices of voters can be heard above the drum beat from cities trying to compete with each other with strategic growth plans. No matter how beautifully published these future growth plans are – they cannot match the vibrance of the Bell County map showing our partner businesses and letter writing campaign outreach.
It is not too late to join the group members who are handwriting envelopes to Bell County voters to encourage them to sign the petition. Nor is it too late to invest time in circulating petition forms, writing your own letters (or using the attached model letter), or donating stamps or envelopes.
Our estimated signature count is more than 1/4 of the goal, but we will not know the actual count until the end of May. If you believe it is worth continuing the fight so that not one more Bell County resident is forced to pay higher taxes, move out of their home or sign a development agreement to protect their home because of a forced annexation action — there is still time to make a difference. A handful of group members may not meet the goal, but 25 letters written by 500 group members can reach 12,500 voters in a short few weeks.
Ask yourself: Is the freedom to live in a county without a tyrannical annexation law, a cause worth fighting for? If the answer is yes, get out your pen, paper, some envelopes and stamps and join the effort today. Letters may be written in your own words, but we ask you to provide the webpage information and link to the map that shows where voters can sign. We have had success with telling voters we write where the place nearest their neighborhood that has a petition partner business.
Instructions as well as a sample letter you can print to mail and a letter format are located on our page labeled: Get Involved!
Thanks to all who have invested time and resources in this effort — every minute and every dollar helps to change history in Bell County, Texas.
My County ‘Tis of Thee, Can I Preserve My Liberty?
“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof.”
Leviticus 25:10 ~ Inscription on the Liberty Bell
Each one of us must ask ourselves what we are willing to do to preserve liberty – for ourselves, our neighbors and our community.
We must decide what kind of county we want to live in: One where we are working together to preserve the principles of liberty? Or one that allows the City Manager of the moment to determine the fate of hundreds of acres of land and future generations of families? Will our community be one that stands by while individual dreams, ranches, farmlands and family history are paved over in the name of future city growth? Or will it be one that promotes and defends landowner rights by by supporting a petition drive to place a measure on the November 6, 2018 ballot to end forced annexation in our county.
As our outreach effort grows, daily communication with Bell County neighbors to educate them, even if one by one is powerful. This dynamic group has grown its its membership through quiet conversation with those in our daily path, a letter or postcard written to our neighbors, or the awareness that a few media stories have provided. In this growth period, we have seen the difference made in one more signature, one more business added to the growing list of businesses that are petition host locations, but also in the recognition that this is not an individual fight, it is everyone’s choice to live in a county that allows the practice of forced annexation to continue.
Whether you were forcibly annexed in the past, compelled to sign a development agreement to protect your land, threatened but not yet annexed or sitting in the seat of government – you can have a dramatic impact on the future of Bell County, Texas. Any goal worth chasing, looks out of reach if you think you must run the race alone to the finish line. When you stand quiet and listen, you can always find the common ground others who will stand with you when your stance is one of principle, not of self interest.
For those already annexed into city limits, hope is not lost, you can and do make a difference by contributing time to educate others on the compelling reasons to change the law in our county. Understanding history and the negative effects of a tyrannical law is critical – for our heritage and our children’s future. Whether you live in the city limits or in the unincorporated county – we should all have power to affect the decisions being made regarding the future growth of our community.
Visit https://empowerbellcountytexans.org/where-can-i-sign/ to get involved and/or to add your signature to the petition to put the measure on the November 6, 2018 ballot. This small act allows all county voters to make an important choice — one that should be offered to every Texas who is interested in preserving liberty now and for future generations.
March 15, 2018
I am with a group of citizens circulating a petition to add a measure to the ballot this fall to change the way annexations are being forced without the consent of Bell County voters. My neighbors and I were faced with a forced annexation (a city extending its boundaries to include property without consent of the landowner) and that is why we started this petition.
On August 15, 2017, Governor Greg Abbot signed Senate Bill 6 into law limiting the annexation powers of Texas cities. Effective December 1, 2017, counties with populations of 500,000 or more are automatically covered by the protections of the new law.
Our home county, Bell, has less than 500,000 residents, so we must opt-in by placing a measure on the ballot to vote in the protections of the new law on November 6, 2018.
We need 10% of registered Bell County voters to sign the petition (approximately 20,000), by May 18, 2018 so every signature counts!
Please join us in this effort to change the law giving voters and property owners a voice in annexation of their properties.
To find out where you can sign a petition near you, please visit our webpage at https://empowerbellcountytexans.org/where-can-i-sign/, email us at EBCTX2017@gmail.com or give us a call 254-613-1221 for more information, to volunteer to help with the petition drive and/or if you need one of our volunteers to drive to your location, so you can sign the petition.
Thank you in advance for your support in making Bell County the place we all want to live, where residents have a voice in the annexation process!
Your Neighbors Determined to End Forced Annexation
How to get involved:
SIGN the Petition! 10% of Bell County voters need to sign the Petition in order for the Bell County Commissioners to place the measure on the November 6, 2018 county-wide ballot.
Visit our host petition binder businesses at Binder Host Locations
Contact Us to check out a signature binder or to host a petition binder at your location or business.
SHARE the information with fellow Bell County voters and encourage those eligible to Register to Vote
SUPPORT the petition drive and ballot measure on November 6, 2018.
Empower Bell County Texans
Chairperson: Amy F. Cook
Phone: (254) 613-1221
Empower Bell County Texans (EBCTX) Presents,
“Sign the Petition – End Forced-Annexation in Bell County, Texas!”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Harker Heights, Texas – EBCTX Chairwoman, Amy Cook and other group members will present, “Sign the Petition – End Forced-Annexation in Bell County TX!” taking place at American Legion Post 573, 225 Cox Avenue, Harker Heights, Texas on Thursday, February 22, 2018, 5:30PM and featuring special guest speaker from Texas Public Policy Foundation, Mr. Rafael Bejar, Director of Outreach.
Empower Bell County Texans is proud to bring “Sign the Petition – End Forced-Annexation in Bell County, Texas!” to Harker Heights, Texas for the first time since EBCTX began their county-wide tour in an effort to change the law.
“Sign the Petition – End Forced-Annexation in Bell County Texas!” will inform, educate and present an opportunity for citizens’ voices to be heard via petition process on the issue of Force-Annexation and protecting property rights.
Petitions will be present to gather signatures from Bell County registered voters. Opportunity will be given to citizens who wish to carry their own set of petitions throughout their communities.
The movement to end forced annexation in Bell County Texas has grown and gained momentum to get the measure on the November 2018 ballot. Bell County stakeholders are talking to neighbors, business leaders and sharing information through social media. Over 60 businesses in Bell County have placed petitions in their businesses to promote the petition drive and gather the required 10% of Bell County registered voter signatures for the ballot measure.
All Bell County residents should have the option to consent to annexation, rather than being forced into it. Forced-annexation is Un-Texan.
“Forced annexation by cities — without a vote by the impacted property owners — is piracy by government, a tyranny of taxation without representation that would have made old King George proud.”
– Gov. Greg Abbott (7/ 22/17 | Austin, TX | Press Release, S. A. Express-News)
In order for Bell County to opt-in to the protections of the updated Chapter 43, Texas Local Government Code municipal annexation law, the petition being circulated today will place the measure on the November 6, 2018 ballot. This is your opportunity to get involved. Help us create new partnerships with communities and businesses to protect individual property rights in the next election.
Empower Bell County Texans is a non-profit, political action committee, formed due to the practice of unilateral (forced) annexation in Bell County Texas in 2018. This group of determined Bell County residents, with friends and neighbors, united to end the practice of unilateral (forced) annexation under Texas State Law, Chapter 43; Texas Local government code. 2018 GOAL: Collect 20,000 registered voter signatures for a ballot measure on the November 6, 2018 election to END FORCED ANNEXATION IN BELL COUNTY, TEXAS!