LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Laurel has once again set its eyes on the possibility of annexing the Pendorff community which lies to the southwest of the city.
This isn't the first time that overtures have been made by the city at the annexation of this area of the county. The city and opponents have been tied up in court battles as far back as 1996 and then in 2003, the city was handed a stunning defeat when a judge denied most of its annexation requests.
The judge back then ruled the city was trying to annex too much territory and couldn't afford the cost of maintaining such an area. Back then, Mayor Johnny Magee was ward six councilman for the city and said he felt that the cost of $11,000 to appeal the judges' decision was just a drop at that time.
Mayor Magee says that if Laurel did annex the area, the residents would receive all of the benefits from the city such as sewer, garbage, police and fire. When asked in 2013 why the city was looking so closely at the Pendorff community for annexation, the mayor responded that the area had vacant property that could be used for industrial purposes.
With the completion of the latest study looking into the cost of infrastructure and the economic viability, the city may once again find itself back in the courts. The Pendorff Community Association has readied itself for the possibility of any annexation attempts making it clear that any attempts will be met with a legal battle in the courts. Edward Allegretti is the President of the Pendorff Community Association and he says that if the city votes to proceed, they would have to first file in court to receive approval.
"Without exception, everybody I have spoken with in Pendorff is against annexation," Allegretti said, "That includes people that live here and even business owners who don't live here, nobody sees an advantage at being annexed."
Allegretti goes on to say that the taxes for those residents in their community would go up dramatically and the benefits the city offers is already available through the county. The current study was conducted by Slaughter & Associates.