Potential citizens of Bellevue raise concerns about incorporation

Potential citizens of Bellevue raise concerns about incorporation

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Potential residents of Bellevue are raising concerns they have about incorporation.

A group called Concerned Citizens of Bellevue started mailing postcards that said, "simply put, do not sign any petition without knowing all the true facts!"

Among the concerns and complaints listed on the mail-out are higher "city property taxes, sewer fees, garbage pick-up fees, employee salary, buildings and equipment."

The city of Bellevue leadership has cited increased fire and police protection as a benefit to incorporation, but the flier said, "the city of Bellevue can offer nothing that we don't already have provided by Lamar County or volunteer and paid firemen. Lamar County Sheriff's Department provides adequate protection for our community."

The city actually addresses this question on its Frequently Asked Questions page, that Mayor John Adcock said it is being updated regularly as they receive resident questions via Facebook and the website.

"We are all pleased with the services that we receive from our homeowners associations and county government, but this effort is about preserving and enhancing our quality of life," according to the website. "Right now, the best vehicle to maintain our high quality community and to control our own destiny is through incorporation."

However, Joe Molnar said he still feels like they city has asked for residents to sign the petition "blindly."

"I've never seen anything with a proposed budget," Molnar said. "They've not shown us anything with how much revenue is going to be coming in from the homes and the businesses that currently exist in the proposed city limits, and without that, how could you expect everybody to front their money and increase their taxes when we don't even know what we're spending it on?"

Adcock said the incorporation petition is already seeing a great response, but said he did not know the exact the number of signatures received so far.

Molnar said he initially agreed with the idea of incorporation, but said he wants concrete information before he signs a petition.

"What I think everybody needs to see is an actual business plan," Molnar said. "They haven't thought this out, it seems, far enough to show everybody how much everything's going to cost. It's just impossible to imagine that the handful of businesses that exist in this proposed city limit will support all of this expense, and it's going to come from somewhere. it's going to come from the tax payers' pockets."

One of the costs Molnar expects is increased property taxes. Bellevue leadership has said it plans to lower the city's fire rating by establishing it's own fire department. That should lower homeowners' fire rating, and therefore lower insurance costs. However, Molnar isn't sure that a lower insurance rate would balance the increased taxes.

"The homeowners insurance premiums will probably only get a couple hundred dollars a year discount," he said. "It's not going to compensate an additional $1,500  in taxes."

Adcock said he chooses to believe that everyone living in the potential area wants what is best for the area, but understands they may disagree on the best way to get there.