Bartlett hears rowdy de-annexation demand again

The Great Seal of Bartlett, TennesseeMurphy Farley brought a fiery speech and defiant stance to the Bartlett city board meeting on Aug. 11.

For the second month in a row, the Bartlett senior citizen gave the mayor and board a piece of his mind about annexing his property on Billy Maher Road back in 2012.

At the July 14 meeting, he said he was fed up with how the annexation is affecting him with taxes and suburban code requirements, and he demanded to be de-annexed.

In the public commentary part of the Aug. 11 meeting, he demanded answers to his list of 15 questions by next month or for the city to de-annex his property.

Farley said he has not gotten a straight answer from the mayor, city attorney or board members.

He also predicted properties annexed as far back as 2004 would never get sewer or street lighting despite paying taxes.
“Nor will I get it as long as I live,” he declared, saying that the city attorney and engineering department spokesmen had told him so.

“I been here 73 years, my family’s been here 150 years, and this is the worst case of running over elderly people that I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said.

The mayor spoke up after Farley’s speech and said the city has plans to provide sewer to annexed areas as development occurs or when it is financially feasible. He also said that any statements to the contrary are inaccurate.

Farley interrupted multiple times to argue but was denied more time to speak based on meeting protocols.

Farley kept popping up to argue despite the mayor’s warning about possibly being forced out of the meeting under police escort. He eventually remained seated at the urging of Alderman W.C. “Bubba” Pleasant.

Kim Hopper of Byhalia, Miss., is a former Bartlett resident who spoke next and backed up Farley’s aggrieved stance against the city.

She was furious at being forced to accept and pay for trash pickup after the annexation, because she already had it taken care of. Her family owned a business and had their own dumpster, where her husband also took the household’s trash daily.

“But you kept putting the bill on my water bill, and then when I refused to pay that portion of my water bill, you threatened to cut off my water. So therefore I had to pay for your garbage pickup that I did not need nor want,” she said. “… We moved.”

On a separate topic, Leon Hurd Jr. of Quail Ridge Drive in Bartlett briefly took the podium to thank the mayor, board and city administrators for their support during the years he’s lived in Bartlett.

‘In God We Trust’

The board approved a resolution supporting the display of the national motto, “In God We Trust,” in the city’s council chambers and in a prominent location at city hall as part of upcoming renovations.

The nation’s original motto of “E pluribus unum” (out of many, one) changed to “In God We Trust” in 1956 during the Cold War. Since then, the motto has been reaffirmed multiple times (2002, by Congress; 2006, by the Senate; and 2011, by the House of Representatives) and has withstood multiple court challenges.

Even before it was the national motto, it was placed on U.S. coins during periods of increased religious sentiment during the Civil War, first appearing on the 1864 two-cent coin, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Other business

The city board also:

  • Approved nearly $6 million in bonds. Their resolutions authorize the issuance of up to $5,995,000 in general obligation public improvement bonds and establish all relevant terms and taxes.
  • Approved amending the FY2016 Capital Improvements Budget by appropriating an additional $4,120,000 in federal grant funds through the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) for the Old Brownsville Road Project.
  • Amended the Bartlett Logistics Planned Development (an existing fully developed property at the end of Wolf Lake Drive). The original development was a three-lot industrial subdivision with two buildings on each lot. The Planning Commission approved a request to divide those three lots into six so each building would sit on its own lot, according to Terry Emerick, Bartlett’s director of planning and economic development. Access easements will be provided across the new lot lines, so the area will function just as it has previously.
  • Approved buying new overhead stage lighting for Bartlett Performing Arts and Conference Center (BPACC). The $19,806.51 bid was from Memphis Audio Services.
  • Approved purchases for the digital telephone system upgrade and network infrastructure project. This includes buying HP switches for a VoIP telephone upgrade in the amount of $90,535 from LSI of Bartlett. It also includes buying $12,720 of Hewlett Packard equipment from CDW-G.
  • Agreed to pay a facility maintenance fee of $25,221.30 to the Tennessee Department for Environment and Conservation for 2015. The city has 18,401 water system connections at $1.30 each.
  • Accepted a lease debt obligation form for the Bartlett City Schools’ new Apple computers (approved on July 28). The school district will pay for the lease but is not allowed to enter into such lease agreements directly.
  • Accepted a debt obligation form for the city’s capital outlay note series 2015, totalling $1,064,000 (approved on July 14). The money will fund FY2016’s Capital Improvement Program.
  • Received the Planning Commission Report for August 2015.
  • Appointed Leon Hurd to the Code Appeals Board.
  • Appointed David Hunt to the Board of Zoning Appeals.