Residents are moving forward with plans to call for an election to make Dike an incorporated area, according to Save Dike From Solar spokesperson Michael Pickens.
Pickens and a couple of others who have been vocal over the last year in their opposition to the solar project being constructed in Dike community by Engie contacted Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom Friday, July 8, 2022, about concerns they had after receiving a letter from Ryan Economy with Hopkins Energy Solar project about road-widening work the solar company began Monday, July 11, 2022, on County Road 3523 in Dike.
The group also during that time advised the county judge, and Monday put on record during public forum at Hopkins County Commissioners Court that the Dike community is actively in the process of completing the steps needed for an election to be called to let Dike residents decide whether their community becomes an incorporated area.
“I just want to let you guys know I talked to Judge Newsom on Friday and gave him a packet of our attorney information,” Pickens told Hopkins County Commissioners Court. “We’ve hired counsel to assist us and guide us through the incorporation procedure. Right now we are finalizing that to our civil engineers. That should be ready in about 3 days, I believe.”
Pickens said, when talking over the past 6 months with an attorney, it was noted that Dike has functioned as a community for 150 years. The first settlers of Dike arrived in 1850. The land he lives on was settled by his stepfather’s family in 1853. Dike has had a US Post Office since the 1800s, and is one of the few townships with a US Post Office that is not incorporated. In addition to the Post Office, Dike has a community center that is used weekly and a volunteer fire department, Pickens noted.
“What we will be presenting to Judge Newsom here shortly will be a petition for incorporation,” Pickens said Monday, July 11, 2022. “So we just need 10% of registered voters to sign the petition, if they’re willing to. Then we will present that petition to Judge Newsom. He will then set the date — I could be wrong on that; I’m not the attorney.”
Pickens showed a map of Tira, an incorporated area in Hopkins County, and noted that the plan is very similar. The Dike residents plan to pursue classification as a Class C municipality, which requires 201 breathing humans within a 2 square-mile radius. He anticipated having a draft of a town charter within 24-hours, then getting it out to those Dike residents to give them an opportunity to sign the petition.
Michele Barnes was among the Dike residents who approached Newsom last Friday regarding the road work which started Monday on CR 3523. She said she came away from that meeting with the understanding that Newsom is “not in charge of anything the county commissioners’ process and knew nothing about the new road being put in on 3523.” That, According to Barnes, Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley controls.
She further was given to understand that “not even the Governor of Texas could do anything with the decisions that out county commissioners make.” Any commissioner or elected official, is answerable to the people they represent, she said.
“Commissioner Bartley, your responsibility to the people in Dike was to make sure that the process used by Engie Solar was correct and ethical. Dike residents had to do the digging ourselves to show that it wasn’t, yet you still continue to go along with it,” Barnes alleged.
Barnes said she believes the Commissioners Court will soon discover that “what the few have been expressing at meetings is what the majority of the people want.” She said canvassing is to begin this week for incorporation. CAD sheets for properties to be included in Dike incorporation, she believes will reflect the opinion of the majority who wish to see Dike incorporated so they have some say in what does and does not happen in their neighborhood.
Dike resident Wayne Ray said he likes Dike as it is and would like to see is stay that way.
“It’s a rural community. We have no business with a city. That’s going to cost lots of money, y’all. You can say whatever you want but it will cost a lot of money for the survey,” Ray said. “We’ve already been through all of this. According to Texas State Code, the population you can have a 2 mile circle. I sure don’t want nobody to tell me what I can do on my property. You have to have a survey done first. You can’t even pick up who you have sign the petition until you have where this city’s going to be incorporation.”
Ray said when he recently approached a surveyor to do a survey on a split property in Saltillo, he was told a woman had approached him about surveying the area in Dike. When told it would be expensive to do so, he was told, ‘I don’t care. It’s what I want done,'” Ray reported.
“There are a lot of things that’s left out here that I have concerns about, that it’s just a waste of people’s money and time. That money will have to be raised somewhere There’s nobody that’s gonna tell me that we’re going to incorporate Dike and it’s not going to cost me anything or affect me in any way. There’s consequences,” Ray said.
Pickens responded the money, 10s of thousands of dollars, for the survey was raised from the Dike community months ago. He acknowledge the process is expensive. Attorney Charles Zech, the corporate attorney highly recommended by the municipal league, isn’t cheap, but enough money has been raised from the Dike community to pay him for his services.
“A lot of these people that’s trying to do this does not even live in Dike, they live in Flora, not even close to Dike,” Pat Potts alleged.
County Treasurer Danny Davis asked Pickens if he lives in Dike community, right now.
“I’ve lived in Dike over 60% of my years since 2015, since my stepdad passed away,” Michael Pickens said. “Yes, absolutely. That’s my house on 3737.”