Attempted Annexation Bill Mounting

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The latest delay in Meridian's annexation case is at least the third in getting it to a courtroom for a hearing. The trial date was to have been July 25.

However, attorneys for both sides are involved in an annexation case between the city of Jackson and the town of Byram. Special hearing Judge Jason Floyd of Starkville has agreed to set back the Meridian case until October 31. He reportedly said the case will be heard at that time without further postponement.

Ken Storms, the city's chief administrative officer, says the annexation effort is justified.

"Those who own property inside the city limits are paying 100 percent of the cost of everything that goes on inside the city and still paying more than 50 percent of what goes on outside the city. Eleven million dollars are collected annually by the county government from property owners inside the city limits and spent almost exclusively on projects out side the city limits," Storms said.

Meridian's annexation effort dates back to the year 2002. It has been costly for all sides. The city has spent about $140,000 for legal fees and nearly $250,000 for consultants.

Lauderdale County, which opposes the annexation, has invested $110,000 in legal fees and $67,000 for a consultant.

The residents of the area have employed the same Jackson attorney as the county and have invested $89,000 in legal fees and $93,000 for a consultant.

That totals, collectively, about $750,000 and the trial has yet to begin.