Annexation opposition grows

Published 11:36 pm Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A group of citizens residing in the Heatherlands Subdivision have signed a petition opposing annexing them into the city limits.

Tuesday evening Howard Wilkins addressed the board on behalf of the citizens in the Heatherlands.

“Half of us are senior citizens,” he said, “and don’t need the extra expense.”

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Wilkins noted he and others do not wish to pay additional city taxes for car tags and property.

City Attorney Martin Smith explained to Wilkins the benefits of being included in the city limits. He said citizens of that subdivision are already experiencing the benefits of fire and police protection without having to pay for those services. He noted the citizens of Poplarville are paying for those services for them.

Residents in the Heatherlands are already using city water, said Smith, and should expect a decrease in their water utility bills once they are annexed since they are presently paying a higher rate by virtue of residing outside the city limits.

The city attorney noted those residents have also experienced the benefit of lower homeowner’s insurance rates because they are in the city’s fire jurisdiction and are connected to the city’s water supply.

He said the city has earned the higher Class 7 fire rating because of the quality of fire protection services offered. Residents outside the city limits are typically under a Class 9 fire rating and pay higher insurance rates. Smith said that because of the Heatherlands’ close proximity to the city services, residents in that subdivision reap the benefit of the city’s Class 7 rating without being responsible for any financial burdens linked with those services.

Wilkins said he and others are planning on attending the trial to voice their opposition to the annexation.

The court date for the annexation trial had been set for Monday, Dec. 10, in Lamar County but Smith said he was recently informed the schedule had changed. Smith is communicating with the court administrator to reset a new court date.

Once the city is informed of the new court date, it will be made public.

One other couple has appeared before the board of aldermen at an earlier meeting to voice their objections to being included in the city’s annexation proceedings.