A Pulaski County man just outside of the city limits of Sherwood said he wishes city leaders would allow him to speak during the regular October meeting of the city council which is set on Monday at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers.
County resident Ron Ragan said he loves country living and doesn’t feel he needs Sherwood’s zoning regulations, police protection or any other service that the city’s government can offer him. In fact, Ragan said he wrote a letter to Sherwood city leaders in time to speak at the September regular meeting of city council. However, he said he wasn’t given an opportunity to speak.
On Nov. 6, Sherwood voters and five small areas outside of town are being asked by the city to annex those areas into the city. For the past seven years or so, Sherwood’s leaders have had an appetite for annexing more land, including areas near the Little Rock Air Force Base and Gravel Ridge. Now city leaders are proposed to annex the areas of North Gap Creek, the Cato Elementary/Northwood School, Carr Cove area, Woodridge Subdivision and the Oakdale-Mine Road area.
Ragan said he’s not trying to be disruptive but just wants to speak his mind. He pointed out that his Justice of the Peace, J.P. Phil Stowers, recently wrote the council and urged aldermen to give Ragan his day before the council.
"At this time a petition has been presented to the city of Sherwood on behalf of the affected residents stating their opposition to this annexation," wrote Stowers in a Sept. 24 letter to the Sherwood City Council. "It is my understanding the petition was signed by an overwhelming majority of the affected residents. If the majority of the citizens of this area are currently opposed to being annexed I would respectfully ask that you rescind the annexation ordinance, actively engage the affected citizens in open dialogue, and only move toward this annexation at some point if it is the general consensus of these citizens to be a part of the city of Sherwood."
Ragan said most people in the outlining areas of Sherwood want to stay unincorporated.
"The residents in our community have approved and functioning septic systems," Ragan said. "We have a lower crime rate than most of Pulaski County, including Sherwood with their high policeman per capital ratio."
Ragan said he doesn’t see a need for Sherwood’s protection.
"I haven’t seen anyone in our community ride a bicycle in five years since we were kids or walk up and down the street for that matter," Ragan said.
Ragan said he still has not gotten a satisfying answer about why Sherwood officials want to annex their little areas.
"I asked city officials why they wanted to annex us. They said to define their borders. Aren’t your borders defined now? Why do you have to pick off just a little area at a time and claim it an emergency?"
Ragan’s reference to an emergency is how the city council a few months ago voted to place the annexation ordinances on the November ballot and included an emergency clause.
"Where is the emergency?" said Ragan. "Some of these families were here before Sherwood was incorporated. It hasn’t been an emergency for 60 years. Why now?"
Ragan added, "Why do you take little pieces at a time? To keep from generating insurmountable opposition? Why don’t you take all of Kellogg Acres, Runyan, Cardinal Valley? Why did you rescind the Loop Road ordinance? Why don’t you let us speak at your city council meetings?"
Ragan said he feels Sherwood is forcing itself on the outlining areas.
"Why would we want to be a part of a city that disrespects us and deals underhandedly with us," Ragan said.
Ragan questioned some of the decision Sherwood officials have made in recent years, including the current controversy about which electric provider will get the city’s contract for 7,000 city residents who have been serviced by North Little Rock Electric for 50 years.
"We don’t want to pay for a golf course that maybe five percent of the people might use," Ragan said. "I doubt if few of us would use your library or recreation center, as I know only five children in our community. We can provide for our own exercise. Don’t make us pay for these amenities and we won’t ask you to pay for our tractors, garden tillers and lawnmowers."