Paris, Texas, May Fulfill Years-Old City Services Promise

Some residents of Paris, Texas, have been fighting to secede. They say the city owes them water and sewer lines that were promised when their part of town was annexed 14 years ago. A resolution may be at hand.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now let's go from Paris, France to another Paris. This one in Texas, some 90 miles northeast of Dallas.

PEGGY WORTHY WILSON: Been here my whole life and this is my own place.

INSKEEP: Peggy Worthy Wilson owns about 15 acres in Paris.

WILSON: I have a grandson and he has cattle and we plant grass. We have two llamas and we have chickens.

(LAUGHTER)

WILSON: So we still have the country feeling.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

That patch of countryside is formally part of the city of Paris. The city annexed the land and 14 years ago promised to deliver a city services to this zone near the airport. That never happened. Ms. Wilson and her neighbors pay fees to the county for their water and they maintain their own sewer systems. Paris City Manager John Godwin told local TV KXII: There is good reason why water and sewer lines were not extended to the airport.

JOHN GODWIN: It's difficult to justify that kind of expense per mile for that number of residents.

GREENE: And so, over the years, the folks along Airport Road have tried to secede. About two dozen of them filed dis-annexation requests earlier this month.

WILSON: Well, they said we'd get city services. They promised water, sewer and all the amenities of the city, you know. And I really don't want the services now.

GREENE: Wilson has actually gone so long without city services, she'd rather just keep it that way and divorce from Paris, Texas.

INSKEEP: So think of this as an accident of romantic timing.

GREENE: Because it now appears that the money is finally available to extend city water and sewer lines to the airport.

INSKEEP: The city wants to promote development around the airport.

WILSON: I'm not interested in that at all. You know, if they promote all that it's just going to mean more traffic and higher taxes. And I'm very satisfied with the airport just like it is.

GREENE: Well, it's not exactly France's Charles de Gaulle Airport, but when you fly into Paris, Texas, you can still visit the Eiffel Tower. Paris has a big red cowboy hat on top.

INSKEEP: Of course.

GREENE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR news. I'm David Greene.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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