The lawsuit filed by Meridian and certain residents of Marion was to block the town's original intention to annex seven square miles in that part of the county. The final pact allotted Marion less than one half of one square mile for their plan. Jerry Mills, the attorney representing Meridian was pleased.
"I think it was a combination of the city of Meridian having an extremely strong case and, unfortunately, Marion had a rather weak case," said Mills. "I think we exposed the weaknesses in their case. They're good people with good intentions but it takes more than good intentions to provide municipal level services."
Marion Mayor Malcolm Threatt said after his board of aldermen approved the agreement Aug. 6 he expected opposition to Marion's annexation plan. One of those opponents is Guy Howard, owner of Benchmark Health Care in Marion.
"I don't think they can afford to," said Howard. "I think they have parked police cars right now because they can't afford to run them. I think Marion had some real good people elected to office but I think some of the decisions they've made have been based on flawed or bad information they were given."
Howard said the solution is a different approach to annexation.
"I think that Marion should, with hat in hand, come to the city of Meridian and ask them to take them in and I think that Meridian should be willing to negotiate with them and cooperate with them and try to work something out," said Howard. "Both towns have problems but I think Meridian is better able to cope with them better than Marion."
Chancery Judge William Griffin, appointed to hear the case when local judges recused themselves, approved the agreement.