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Union Valley is a city in Hunt County, Texas, United States. The city voted to incorporate in an election held on November 6, 2007. A total of 90 votes were cast (out of 173 registered voters), 75 (83.3%) in favor of incorporation and 15 (16.7%) against.[1] According to the Union Valley incorporation committee, the city has about 78 households.[2] A July 1, 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimate placed the population at 193.[3]

Contents

Geography

Map of Texas's counties, with Union Valley highlighted as a red dot.

Union Valley is located at 32°55′38″N 96°15′04″W / 32.92722°N 96.25111°W / 32.92722; -96.25111 (32.9273441, -96.2510895), approximately five miles west of Quinlan in southwestern Hunt County.[4] The city covers around 948 acres (3.84 km2) and contains households and businesses which front Farm to Market Roads 1565 and 35.[2] It also includes the northeast corner of FM 1565 and State Highway 276 as well as a portion of Old Quinlan Road.[2]

History

Settlement of the area began in the 1880s.[4][5] From its inception, Union Valley served area farmers as a school and church community. It was bypassed by the railroads that crisscrossed Hunt County in the late 1880s and early 1890s.[4] This resulted in the community remaining lightly populated throughout the twentieth century.

Moves to incorporate Union Valley arose in response to the rapidly growing and expanding communities to the west in neighboring Rockwall County, particularly Royse City, which grew from a population of 2,957 in 2000 to approximately 9,300 in 2007.[6] In the past few years, the city has annexed land extending into Collin and Hunt counties, and Union Valley residents felt that incorporation was the only way to prevent annexation by Royse City or any other city. Fears of higher taxes and a loss of the area's rural, close-knit feel were the main concerns raised by Union Valley residents.[7]

The first attempt at incorporation took place in May 2006, but was defeated by a vote of 151 (89.3%) against and 18 (10.7%) for.[8] This was due in part to some residents fearing that liquor stores would come to the community.[9] After the resounding defeat, a series of public meetings on the issue occurred in 2007 and a second incorporation vote was held on November 6, 2007 in which it was approved by 83.3% of the voters.

City government

Union Valley is a "Class C" municipality, which under state law means that the city cannot annex land totaling more than two square miles. "Class C" municipalities also don't have to provide services traditionally found in cities such as fire and police departments, or water/sewer services.[2] The Hunt County Sheriff's Department provides police services to Union Valley, as it did prior to incorporation.[10]

In addition to the incorporation vote on November 6, 2007, residents were given the option of choosing their city officials in case the proposition passed. There were three candidates – Jay Atkins, Jeffrey A. Francis, and Daniel W. Council.[11] Residents could choose to vote for none, one, two, or all three candidates.[2] Jay Atkins received 42 votes, followed by Daniel Council with 26, and Jeffrey Francis with 24.[1] Since Atkins obtained the highest number of votes, he became Mayor, while the other two were designated Commissioners. They were sworn-in on November 19, during a special session of the Hunt County Commissioners Court.[12]

Union Valley has no city hall, so council meetings are held in the local [volunteer] fire station, which is considered the heart and pride of the community.[9] It was formed in 1976 and has a service area of 68 square miles (180 km2).

The first city council meeting took place on December 6, 2007. Eddie "Chris" Elliott was named City Secretary, while Commissioner Jeffrey Francis was named Mayor Pro-Tem. It was also decided that council members would be elected for staggered two-year terms.[10]

In municipal elections on May 10, 2008, City Secretary Eddie Elliott was the sole candidate for mayor and received 21 votes. Three candidates competed for two open seats on the city commission.[2] Daniel W. Council, elected commissioner in November 2007, finished first with 15 votes. The second seat was won by Michelle Oznick, who received 14 votes. Oznick was a supporter of incorporation for Union Valley and served on the annexation committee.[7] Commissioner and mayor pro-tem Jeffrey Francis lost his seat after placing third with 12 votes.[13]

Voters were also asked whether they favored a one percent sales and use tax. Of 24 votes cast, 19 (79.2%) voted for the measure and 5 (20.8%) voted against it. A non-binding referendum regarding the future imposition of a small property tax to expand the fire station was supported by the same 19-5 margin.[13]

Education

Most of Union Valley is served by the Quinlan Independent School District, although small portions of the city lie in the Royse City Independent School District.[9]

Lakeland Academy [1], a private Montessori school, has a 70-acre (280,000 m2) ranch campus in Union Valley. The school serves students in grades one through eight.

References

  1. ^ a b "Union Valley decides to become a city". The Herald Banner (Greenville, Texas). 2007-11-07. http://www.heraldbanner.com/local/local_story_311015135.html. Retrieved 2007-11-17.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f "To keep from joining a city, Union Valley may need to become a city". The Herald Banner (Greenville, Texas). 2007-10-30. http://www.heraldbanner.com/local/local_story_303011127.html. Retrieved 2007-11-17.  
  3. ^ "Table 4: Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Texas, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-07-01. http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/tables/SUB-EST2008-04-48.csv. Retrieved 2009-07-14.  
  4. ^ a b c "Union Valley, Texas". The Handbook of Texas online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/UU/hvu4.html. Retrieved 2007-11-17.  
  5. ^ "Union Valley Profile". DK Farm and Ranch Real Estate. http://www.txlandrush.com/unionvalley.html. Retrieved 2007-11-17.  
  6. ^ "2007 Population Estimates" (TXT). North Central Texas Council of Governments. 2007-03-22. http://www.txlandrush.com/unionvalley.html. Retrieved 2007-11-17.  
  7. ^ a b "Vexing Annexation". Royse City Herald-Banner (Royse City, Texas). 2007-09-12. http://www.roysecityheraldbanner.com/local/local_story_255133329.html. Retrieved 2007-11-17.  
  8. ^ "Hunt County calls for new Union Valley vote". Royse City Herald-Banner (Royse City, Texas). 2007-08-15. http://www.roysecityheraldbanner.com/local/local_story_227121719.html. Retrieved 2007-11-17.  
  9. ^ a b c "Union Valley incorporates to prevent being annexed". The Dallas Morning News. 2007-11-23. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/112407dnmetroyseannex.201cb28.html. Retrieved 2007-11-24.  
  10. ^ a b "Union Valley makes history with first council meeting". The Herald Banner (Greenville, Texas). 2007-12-07. http://www.heraldbanner.com/local/local_story_341014038.html. Retrieved 2007-12-27.  
  11. ^ "Last day to register for Nov. 6 elections". The Herald Banner (Greenville, Texas). 2007-10-09. http://www.heraldbanner.com/archivesearch/local_story_282011326.html. Retrieved 2007-11-17.  
  12. ^ "First Union Valley council sworn in". The Herald Banner (Greenville, Texas). 2007-11-20. http://www.heraldbanner.com/local/local_story_324013206.html. Retrieved 2007-11-24.  
  13. ^ a b "Bond issues pass in Bland ISD, Commerce". The Herald Banner (Greenville, Texas). 2008-05-11. http://www.heraldbanner.com/local/local_story_132024851.html. Retrieved 2008-05-12.  

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