June 30, 2022 By Sherry Mitchell

Extract from the Gallatin
News

An agenda item to discuss possible de-annexation of a Gallatin property at Tuesday night’s city council study session was ‘put to bed’ and will not be pursued.

The property, located on Long Hollow Pike is owned by Pascal and Michelle Jouvence, who reside there. During last week’s regular city council meeting, Vice Mayor Shawn Fennell made a motion that consideration to de-annex the property be placed on the June 28 agenda.

On Monday, Fennell told the Gallatin News why he brought that motion to the table last week.

“Over the years, they have gotten up (at meetings) and have complained about the plan of service they receive from the city,” Fennell said. “We give them everything we can except for sewer, and it just hasn’t been subscribed for that area yet.

“If he doesn’t want it, we won’t de-annex, but when they are standing up there telling you they are not getting all the services, do they want to stay annexed into the city or not? It’s just a simple question. I just put it in a motion to put it back into the work session so we could ask them.”

Jouvence said his Long Hollow Pike property was annexed into the city in 2008, prior to his purchasing it, and that one of the plans of service was supposed to be for sewer. The plan of service does call for city sewer within five years, but only if enough residents request it. No one has requested the service, and Jouvence himself says he doesn’t want sewer, but feels the language in the annexation plan regarding sewer services needs to be taken out.

“We don’t have sewer and we don’t want sewer – and all our neighbors don’t want sewer,” Jouvence said, adding that he and his wife believe the city is breaking the law by keeping the language about sewer in the original plan.

“They are basically retaliating against Michelle for her saying they are not following the law,” Jouvence said. “We don’t want to be de-annexed – we never asked for it.”

 

Jouvence also said he believes the council was attempting to de-annex his property because he pulled papers to run for Gallatin city council last week — the day before de-annexing discussion was brought up.

 

“It has to do with me running (for city council),” Jouvence said. “They know that if I am sitting back there, the city will have to follow the laws and they don’t want that. The sewer has nothing to do with that issue — it’s a distraction.”

 

Last week, Jouvence also filed an ethics complaint with the state, saying the council was trying to gerrymander and cancel his ability to run for city office by de-annexation.

 

Fennell said Jouvence pulling papers the day before had nothing to do with his bringing the matter up.

 

“I don’t know when you pull papers – I’m not in that race but he has always made it known he was going to run,” Fennel said. “The election doesn’t have anything to do with it – it’s just a simple question about something they have complained about for years.”

Resident John Miller, who lives outside of Gallatin, spoke during public comments.

“Everyone here just really needs to apologize,” Miller said. “The residents don’t need this kind of fighting. Apologize and let’s get on doing what you were elected to do.”

Several other residents spoke out, saying the city was trying to silence the Jouvences from speaking at public meetings with the threat of de-annexing them from the city.

The City of Gallatin allows anyone to speak during public comments, regardless of where they reside.

Mayor Paige Brown said she was caught off guard during the June 21 study session when the matter was first brought up,and didn’t believe it was the right thing to do.

“They have certainly indicated being de-annexed is something they are not interested in, and I think the proper movement of this body is to put it to bed and get it off the table,” Brown said.

Fennell said he agreed,and appreciated what Miller had said during public comments.

“I do apologize – I should have gotten them off to the side and asked them instead of putting it on the floor like that. I don’t think there is any reason to discuss de-annexation any further.”

The vote to completely table de-annexation discussion with no future consideration was unanimous.

 

Jouvence asked to speak after the vote, saying he accepted the apology from some but not all of the council members, adding that he still believed he and his wife were being retaliated against for personal reasons.

 

“I’m happy about it but it should never have happened – to even suggest that (de-annexation) is just ridiculous,” Jouvence said Wednesday morning. “People from all areas and backgrounds showed up to support us – people I didn’t even know showed up because they found this idea was just ridiculous.”