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PRCC land annexation process to begin

The Pop-larville Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday evening to begin the process to annex those portions of Pearl River Community College that lie outside the city limits. The process should take about a month to complete and will only affect college land, said City Attorney Martin Smith.

The community college expansion program over recent years has been moving westward on land outside the corporation limits. Part of the technology center, the nursing center, the new chapel and parts of the new dormitories have been built on land outside the city limits, the aldermen learned.

Smith reiterated this action will only affect the extra territory of the community college land to bring it into the existing corporation limits.

“It would affect no one else other than the college itself,” he said.

Alderman Shirley Wiltshire informed the board that rumors were being spread that the city was planning to annex homes in the Highlands subdivision but not their streets. She said she assured them the city could not and would not ever do such a thing.

Although the city has been engaged with an Oxford-based firm in an ongoing study to look at the economic feasibility of expanding the city limits, it has not yet taken any action for expansion.

In discussions, Wiltshire questioned about the feasibility of taking in the wedge of land between the two interstate exits between Highways 26 East and 53 South. Dr. John Grant said the last city board was advised against considering that section.

“That was specifically looked at and carefully studied,” said Grant. “We were advised against it, and we agreed it would not be cost effective and in the best interests of our city to take in that area at this time.”

Alderman Bill Winborn had different views.

“Looking at the situation we’re currently in, we need to expand the city limits in all directions,” he said. “I think we need to build bigger. Basically what you were looking at with this last annexation was based on us having to foot the bills for infrastructure.

“With what is coming down from the feds, infrastructure will not be a problem like it was in the past because they will be footing the bill, not us,” Winborn said. “I think that shines an entirely different light on the previous study you had.”

He agreed the city did make the wisest decision to not act based on the information given them at that earlier time. He thinks times have changed, especially in light of the anticipated help from the federal government to bring additional water and sewer into the city.

“I think it’s time to build bigger,” he said. “Do it right the first time so you won’t have to go back and redo it a second time.”

Grant responded by saying he had comments on the matter but wanted to reserve comment for a closed session.

In other business, the board adopted the same tax millage rate as last year. Mayor Billy Spiers wanted citizens to know there will be no increase in their millage.

There will, however, be a small increase in the water rate, slightly over a dollar each for water and for sewage, he said.