Council approved annexation of eight tracts of land within the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ. All annexations were approved in a 3-2 vote, with council members Duke Coon and Duane Ham voting against every annexation proposed by the city.
Conroe Mayor Toby Powell, who also opposed the forced annexations, said he was disappointed about the vote but intends to follow through on the city's promises to residents who are being annexed. Powell does not vote on council matters except in the instance of a tie.
"It is going to cost the city quite a bit of money to bring these residents in to the city," Powell said. "As the mayor I am going to check these roads and make sure they are in good shape. I want to make sure that they do receive good fire protection. I want to let these residents know that we are going to be here for them."
Annexation of four tracts of land, including Saddle and Surrey, Lake Lorraine, and Pine Lake, will go into effect at midnight Dec. 31. Annexation for White Oak Ranch will go into effect Jan. 2.
Four additional tracts of land—Lakewood Estates, Lake Conroe Village, Riverbrook-Forest Hills and Carriage Hills—were placed into a three-year annexation plan by the city. The plan is necessary because of state regulations that require that neighborhoods with 100 rooftops or more be placed into three-year plans for annexation.
The city has also offered agreements for two additional properties that allow the land tracts to remain outside of city limits but allows the city to annex the tracts at a later date.
During the meeting, numerous residents of some of the communities offered public comments regarding the annexations. Comments included residents raising opposition to the annexation because of state Legislature rules that went into effect this year. The rules would require voter approval for the annexation by residents of a community being annexed if the county population is larger than 500,000 residents. The state Legislature bases the population count on decennial U.S. Census numbers, and Montgomery County is not expected to cross the 500,000-resident threshold until 2020.