Ousted city councilmember Donna McNichols, a Wyandot Village resident, was the first among several to speak to the council. McNichols said that none of them were happy with the ruling by Circuit Judge Dennis Foust that had put their neighborhood outside the city. Among their reasons were that their garbage rates would go up and that the streetlights would no longer be provided by the city. She said she and her neighbors would be working on procedures to become re-annexed into the city and would look at getting their roads up to standard. Referring to the class-action lawsuit filed against the city by residents of some nearby neighborhoods, McNichols said she couldn’t explain greed or why they would ask for their taxes back when they had received services for years. She also made an offhand comment that there was a problem with skunks in her area.
“We’ll take care of the skunk, but let’s take care of the elephant (in the room) first,” Mayor Lyn Bailey said.
After this, other Wyandot Village residents took their turns speaking about their dissatisfaction. Chris Fuesler said that he and his neighbors hadn’t been informed well enough while the lawsuit had been unfolding. He said he had received a letter telling him how to proceed if he wanted his back taxes and later received another letter telling him he was out of time. During this time, no one from the city had contacted him to tell him that he was in danger of soon living outside the city limits.
Bailey told Fuesler that the city had fought the suits against them for some time, but after losing them all, they finally had decided to stop appealing and let the judges settle the case. He said, though, that the city didn’t know for certain how Foust would rule until the previous week.
“As of now you’re in the county,” Bailey said. “Don’t blame us for it.”
Bailey also said that the reason the string of lawsuits had started in the first place was because of a dispute over whether the city or the subdivisions’ original developers, Thomas and Oliver, were responsible for maintaining the streets. The land was later bought by Headley Bluff Land Company. Since the city attorney at the time did not believe the city was liable for the streets, the city did not repair them, but it was discovered during the proceedings that subdivisions had been improperly annexed. This is the reason the class-action suit had been filed to get their taxes back, he said.
Fuesler said he had never been a part of any class-action suit and that he had had no idea of what was going on during all this. Councilmember Manuel Brown then told him that he would have needed to opt out of the suit, or he would be counted among the plaintiffs.
Wyandot Village resident Jerry Corbey stood to say that the situation wouldn’t have escalated to the point of de-annexation if the city had fixed the roads years ago.
“If the roads had been fixed, we wouldn’t be in this mess,” he said. “The roads are still in terrible shape.”
Read continuing, complete coverage of the city's de-annexation in your Cadiz Record.