The city of Leroy lives.
Voters in this tiny enclave 14 miles northeast of downtown Waco rejected a proposition Tuesday that would have disbanded the city of 345.
Of 162 who cast votes, 88, or 54 percent, rejected the measure to dissolve the city that incorporated 44 years ago, while 74 voted for the measure.
“We knew it would be close either way,” Mayor Ernest Moravec. “Now we’ll just continue to operate as a city, and we finally have some tax money to work with, the tools we need to make road repairs, make some other improvements here and there, and trim trees.”
Moravec, a stay-at-home dad and farmer, has been serving on the Leroy City Council 10 years, the last three as mayor. He said the Leroy community, located at the intersection of F.M. 308/Leroy Parkway and F.M. 2311/Heritage Parkway, is seeing growth, with residents building new homes or remodeling existing ones. Most Leroy residents work in Waco, and youngsters attend the West Independent School District. The Axtell/Leroy Volunteer Fire Department fights fires, and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office answers calls.
“Hopefully, this vote will raise awareness locally, Moravec said. “Some people are not even aware they live within the city limits of Leroy because they have not had to deal with any issues. We’d love to see more community participation. We have a full council, five members, but we often have no one at our meetings, maybe just a couple of visitors, if that many.”
A recently adopted property tax generates about $35,000 a year, with which Leroy leaders pay City Hall utility bills, make road repairs and pay a part-time city secretary. He said several people, including himself, use their own mowers to trim city-owned lots. One advantage to remaining a city, he said, is that garbage collection rates will remain about the same.
“They would have increased 50 to 100 percent had we unincorporated,” he said. “We are receiving competitive offers to provide the service.”
Moravec said the community incorporated to protect itself from annexation, but the growing number of young families have railed against what they perceived as inadequate city services and pushed to disband Leroy.
A majority of Leroy’s population is between the ages of 35 and 44, with a median age of 38.7 in its 120 households, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 estimates. Leroy is becoming a bedroom community with little commercial base, having seen the number of businesses drop to one.
Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver said there are no plans and have been no discussions regarding annexing property, even long term.