Retired City Employee Responds To Letter About Covert Annexations

Dear Editor:

     In response to the letter from Dennis Minks regarding the City of Decatur and their “covert” annexations and “threats” I must address this gross misinformation. As a retired City employee who dealt with annexation and water issues for almost 38 years in the City of Decatur Engineering office I feel I’m qualified to state that under no circumstance is the City in any way “covertly” annexing anyone.

     I’m making an educated guess that Mr. Minks is referring to annexations through Water Agreements. When people come to the Engineering Office seeking water and are outside the City Limits they are given a Water Agreement to sign. This Agreement states, in part, that when the property seeking water becomes contiguous (adjacent) to the City Limits that property will be annexed into the City.

     No citizen is forced to sign this agreement. No arms are twisted, there are no secrets, no invisible ink; it is there in black and white. The Engineering staff always makes a point to make sure the property owner is aware of this. It should therefore be no surprise that when the property owner receives a letter from the City stating that it’s time to annex as required by their Water Agreement, the property owner should step up to the plate and fulfill their end of the Agreement.

     This is not being “blindsided.” If the property owner doesn’t feel they need to abide by the Agreement then the City has the option to disconnect their water service. Not just turn the water off, but physically disconnect the service. It’s not a threat, it’s part of the deal.

     There is nothing “covert” about it. Read the Water Agreement. Always read before signing anything.

Chris Mauzy,

Former City Engineering employee

Former City Manager Steve Garman Impacted A. J. Krieger’s Life

     Hello Paul – This last summer I had an opportunity to visit “home” for the first time in more than 10 years. I was amazed to see all the great things happening there. Congratulations to you all! I’m writing to tell you how much I appreciated reading your comments about Steve Garman. To say that I loved and respected Steve is an enormous understatement. Quite simply, with the exception of my dad, no one man impacted my life as much as Steve did.

     During my recent visit it was so fun to drive around and see so many projects that I worked on while I was there. And it was of course inevitable that I would think about Steve the entire time.

     It’s been more than 16 years since I left Decatur and I can honestly say that almost every day of my career as a city manager since, I have thought of him. The stories. The lessons. The professional advice when I needed it. (Even sometimes when I didn’t think I needed it…) The friendship.           

     Steve was a mentor for me in every sense of the word. He taught me, encouraged me, gave me the freedom to make mistakes and was always there to help me learn from them. Steve was the city manager that I am still trying to become.                

     One of the things I always regretted was that most people never really got to know Steve on a personal level. Steve had an incredible sense of humor – and I always wished that more people could have seen it. He always truly cared about Decatur and wanted to see it flourish. I was lucky enough to know and learn from some of the really great people to ever call Decatur home; Rick Lutovsky, Bill Blank, Bill Eichenauer, John Couter, Terry Howley, Phil Cochran, and many more.           

     For me, Steve Garman will always be at the top of the list. Thank you for remembering him the way you did. God Bless.

A.J. Krieger

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