Transcript Staff Writer

GOLDSBY -- Purcell and Goldsby have both annexed the same property, and the controversial move will be settled in court, lawyers said Tuesday.

The Town of Goldsby began the annexation process first, notifying the landowners in a 1 1/2-square-mile area of unincorporated land near Johnson Road. The area is bordered by I-35, SE 36th Avenue, Johnson Road and Highway 74.

When the City of Purcell found out about the possible annexation, they passed an emergency annexation measure May 24. The measure annexed the same area as Goldsby, as well as about 14 square miles more of unincorporated land around Purcell.

Neither Purcell nor Goldsby has a city property tax, but both collect sales taxes. Goldsby Mayor Cindy Scott said Purcell's sales tax is 4 percent, while Goldsby's is 2 percent.

Both communities' mayors said they want to receive sales tax revenues from any future businesses in the areas of proposed annexation.

The annexation would help regulate what goes into the area, protecting the rural lifestyle from encroachment, the mayors said.

Purcell's annexation was dependent on getting consent in writing from landowners of more than half the property to be annexed. Goldsby, being a town and not a city, is not required to get consent of the landowners in order to annex.

Both communities are required to follow certain steps set forward in Oklahoma statutes, however, including notifying landowners, printing the notice in a local newspaper and holding a public hearing.

Purcell's public hearing was 7 p.m. Friday. The city worked hard to squeeze in all the requirements before Goldsby's hearing 6 p.m. Monday.

Goldsby, however, says Purcell did not complete all the requirements for annexation. Goldsby will be filing an action claiming they have the right to annex the area, not Purcell, the town's lawyer said Tuesday.

"There are a number of things we believe they did wrong," attorney Bob Dill said.

For example, Dill said, a city is required to publish legal notice in a newspaper "of the county." Purcell published its notice in The Oklahoman, not The Purcell Register. Presumably, this was because the Register is a weekly paper and would not have printed in time to beat Goldsby to annexation.

This is only one example of the ways Purcell did not fully comply with Oklahoma statute in annexing the property, Dill said.

So Goldsby officially approved the annexation at its meeting Monday, despite Purcell already approving annexation of the same property.

The meeting Friday evening in Purcell lasted until 2 a.m. More than 100 people showed up for some part of the meeting. Councilmembers seemed surprised at the turnout.

Purcell Mayor Betty Gerhard said councilmembers passed the annexation as a reaction to Goldsby's action, but weren't sure how the landowners in the area felt about it.

The most vocal at the meeting lived in the areas not immediately threatened by Goldsby's annexation and were adamantly opposed to annexation.

"I'm out there by myself, and I wanna stay there by myself," said Jack Roth. Roth, who runs the Oklahoma Horseshoeing School east of I-35, wore an American flag hat and stomped from the podium in cowboy boots.

"We don't want Purcell; we don't want Goldsby -- we want to be left alone," landowner Jim Evans said at the meeting.

Those who owned land in the area also being annexed by Goldsby generally expressed a preference to be annexed by Purcell, such as David Caster who lives in the Johnson Road area.

After hearing the comments and complaints from landowners, the Purcell council decided to annex the area Goldsby was trying to annex, as well as some other areas around the city -- a little over three square miles, down drastically from its original 16 square miles, said Teddy Boles, code enforcement supervisor for Purcell.

Purcell received about 80 percent to 90 percent written consent to annex the area Goldsby had wanted to annex, Boles said.

"We had plenty of consent to take what we needed," he said.

The annexation was finalized at the county courthouse at about 3 p.m. Monday, he said.

The meeting Monday night in Goldsby was much more sedate, with only one landowner commenting on the annexation. The Goldsby Board of Trustees passed the annexation after Dill said they believed they had followed the law accurately in the annexation process.

Dill said Tuesday that a legal action was being prepared to challenge Purcell's claims to the annexed land. He said he hopes to receive a judgment "as quickly as possible so the residents in the area can know as quickly as possible to which if any community they belong to."

Purcell's attorney Ted Pool said Purcell will dispute Goldsby's legal claims and take it to court.

Those who wish to know if they are in the area annexed by Purcell may call the city at 527-4656, Boles said.

It is too late for anyone else to get in on this annexation, he said, but landowners in unincorporated McClain County may file a petition to be annexed in the future.

Julianna Parker

366-3550

jparker@normantranscript.com

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