May 8 could become the birth date for Johnson County’s newest municipality.
During a special called meeting of the Johnson County Commissioners Court late Monday, about 25 residents from an area east of Cleburne, around County Road 415, petitioned to become incorporated as a Type C General-Law Municipality.
Because residents fulfilled requirements to become incorporated, including submitting a petition from a minimum of 10 percent of the qualified voters living in the proposed city, Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon ordered an election for May 8 to allow residents of the area to decide the matter.
The proposed city, which would be named Coyote Flats, is close to but lies outside Keene’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, Harmon said.
Had the area been inside the ETJ, residents would have needed permission from the Keene City Council to proceed, he said.
James McHale, representing residents of proposed Coyote Flats, told council members there were about 206 inhabitants in the area.
“We want our own destiny,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot better for us than being controlled by entities that don’t care about us.”
Commissioners warned McHale that the new city would become responsible for road maintenance and signage, as well as police and fire protection.
“That’s some of the details that need to be worked out after this meeting and before the election,” McHale said.
County officials also made clear to residents in attendance that an individual resident or entity must be responsible for election funding if the city chose to contract with the county.
It was not clear whether McHale would assume that responsibility. The contract would need approval from commissioners.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Beeson said a new city would have many challenges.
“They have a long way to go,” he said. “We would assist them as much as any other city in Johnson County.”
Beeson said that although the area is served by a water co-op and a private waste company, these would become city responsibilities if something changed in the future.
The proposed municipality would include county roads 414, 415 and 417A, as well as some of Farm-to-Market Road 3136 and FM 2415, Beeson said.
Because the voting must occur within the proposed incorporated area, according to election rules, the election, as well as early voting, will take place at a residence located at 2516 CR 415.