Resident files bill of exceptions for county’s no action on Dunbar Road incident

Published 12:03 am Saturday, July 15, 2017

NATCHEZ — Eleven days after telling supervisors he would see them in court, an Adams County resident filed a bill of exceptions Friday in the Sixth District Circuit Court.

The crux of the case, “Lynn Wirtz v. Adams County Board of Supervisors, in its official capacity” dates back to June 2008, when Wirtz’s neighbor allegedly bulldozed an approximately 300-foot section within the county right-of-way.

Wirtz contends the neighbor did not have the right to remove trees and move dirt within the right-of-way because, Wirtz says, the county owns the right-of-way. Wirtz said he is concerned with the county taking no action, as he believes many people are essentially committing theft in taking trees from the right-of-way, yet it happens all the time.

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Wirtz is filing the appeal in circuit court in response to the board officially taking no action at its last meeting against Wirtz’s neighbor for removal of  timber and soil from the right-of-way along Dunbar Road.

After nine years of dealing with an issue which occurred before four current supervisors were elected, District 2’s David Carter motioned to take no action so the county could put this behind them and focus on other battles.  Wirtz said Friday he had not expected Carter to officially call for no action, but he was glad Carter did.

“After almost nine years, he expedited the process by bringing the matter to a vote, and I think it was the last thing some folks wanted to happen,” Wirtz said. “But I am glad it happened. Now this matter will be drawn to court, which is where it had to be eventually.

“The board was obviously never going to do the right thing. Now we will see what happens from here.”

Carter said Friday he is regretful for the situation that happened nine years ago when only Board President Mike Lazarus had been elected — for only approximately six months.

However, Carter said the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, the Mississippi Supreme Court and local attorneys have said no wrong was done nine years ago.

“I have absolute great respect for Mr. Writz’s persistence, but it is simply time to move ahead,” Carter said. “I hate that the situation happened, but we cannot keep expending our legal capital and having our county administrator spending so much time on something that has been rehashed and rehashed.

“The county has spent hundreds if not thousands of hours trying to appease him. I am glad it is in court. I hope the courts can either find a solution or dismiss the case and allow all to move forward.”

Adams County Board Attorney Scott Slover said the county would have to file a correction to the bill of exception and then the county would file a brief. The court will either conduct a hearing or make a decision based on the documents, Slover said, but judges typically ask for a hearing, he said.“The judge will render a decision on the facts, objections and judgment of the board of supervisors presented to (the judge) that day,” Slover said. “My position is that Mr. Wirtz’s bill of exceptions is without substantial justification. It is without hope of any success.”

Slover said if Wirtz does not hire an attorney, he would treat Wirtz as he does any attorney and will object to anything done incorrectly.

Wirtz said he believes the judge should have sufficient information based on the bill of exceptions to make a decision in favor of his position. However, if a hearing is conducted, he would consider hiring an attorney.

“I have spent $25,000 on this and don’t see why I should have to spend more money,” Wirtz said. “If I do, I will. I want to see this thing through.”

Wirtz said he believes the county’s reliance on Attorney General’s opinion, rather than statute, is flawed.

“They are entrenched and using the attorney general’s opinion as some type of justification,” Wirtz said. “It is very dangerous because it has errors in there and it is opinion, only opinion, and not law.”

Wirtz said the law, as he has read based on Mississippi statute and court cases, is very clear,

“They are touting this flawed opinion as being justification of them sitting back and doing absolutely nothing. It makes no sense,” Wirtz said. “Once a road is dedicated to the public, it means it is dedicated to the public. Adjacent landowners have to stay off.”