Annexation hearing set for today

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 19, 2009

NATCHEZ — City officials will be in court today as part of one of the final steps in an annexation process.

The city has been working on annexing approximately 2.5 square miles of county land.

Two miles of the proposed annexation are south of town, near Trinity Episcopal Day School.

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Attorney Walter Brown said the parcel of land is currently a mixed commercial and residential development.

The other parcel of land — a little more than half a square mile — is north of town off of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive by Old Country Club Drive.

Neither parcel of land has residents living on it.

“This annexation has been driven by utility needs, particularly water and sewage, in those two areas,” Brown said.

Part of the annexation process requires a hearing in which the annexation must be proved to be a viable and beneficial endeavor for the city.

Brown said those testifying are Mayor Jake Middleton, City Clerk Donnie Holloway, City Engineer and Water Works Superintendent David Gardner, City Planner John “Rusty” Lewis, Police Chief Mike Mullins and the city’s financial adviser.

The hearing will be heard by Judge George Ward in the Adams County Chancery Court beginning at 9 a.m.

“Hopefully, we’ll conclude it in one day,” Brown said.

He said he believes it should go quickly, because another purpose of the hearing is for any objectors to voice their opinions.

“To my knowledge, there’s been no objection filed by anyone,” Brown said.

Initially, the Adams County Board of Supervisors stated concern about any county residents being annexed.

Once Brown reviewed the tax rolls and saw nobody would be annexed, the supervisors have not mentioned any more objection.

Brown said after the hearing, the judge will issue his opinion.

Brown said the judge can approve or disapprove the entire annexation, or give partial approval.

“We’re hoping he’ll approve all of it. This is actually a fairly small annexation,” he said.

If approved, Brown said the city will then file the annexation amendment with the state attorney general’s office. This is to make sure the newly annexed land will comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Brown said again, because there are no people being annexed, there should not be a problem.

He said when development of the south parcel of land comes online it shouldn’t impact the Voting Rights Act of 1965, either.

If approved by the attorney general’s office, the annexation will go into effect.