Annexation a Big Task

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Three years ago, the city of Biloxi proposed to annex adjacent county land. Objectors intervened but eventually the Chancery Court of Harrison County approved the annexation.

Objectors appealed. The Mississippi Supreme Court supported the chancellor's finding.

The eight major issues that decided the Biloxi case will likely apply to Meridian.

  • 1. The municipality's need for expansion.

  • 2. Is the proposed area reasonably within a path of growth of the city?

  • 3. Potential health hazards from sewage and waste disposal in the annexed areas.

  • 4. The city's financial ability to make the improvements and furnish municipal services promised.

  • 5. The need for zoning and overall planning in the area.

  • 6. The need for municipal services in the area.

  • 7. Are there natural barriers between the city and the proposed annexation area?

  • 8. The past performance and time element involved in the city's provision of services to its present residents.

Courts have also taken into consideration the impact of annexation, economic or otherwise, upon those who live or own property in the area; impact upon minority voting strength and whether residents of the proposed area are enjoying economic and social benefits from proximity to the municipality without paying their fair share of the taxes.

The city of Meridian has filed the necessary papers for annexation. Residents in the proposed annexation area have built a financial war chest to fight the action.

Local chancery court officials are expected to recuse themselves and an outside judge will likely be named to hear the case.

Nothing is likely to happen until Spring 2003. The case itself will probably not be heard until next summer or fall. Whichever side loses will probably appeal, all the way to the supreme court.