HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg's annexation attorney said Lamar County's circuit court appeal against the city's annexation plan has "no merit."
"It appears to us that Lamar County seems to be challenging the method in which the city council entered executive session, so I'm not sure it has much of an effect to be honest with you," said John Scanlon, the city's annexation attorney. "We understand, if I understand it correctly, Lamar County is not challenging the adoption of the ordinance, but is challenging the method in which the matter was put on the docket of the city council and the method in which the city council entered executive session to discuss it."
Scanlon said no action was taken in the council's executive session. He said the council only deliberated in executive session and then took the vote to adopt the ordinance in an open meeting.
"It's a separate fight, but it's still related, obviously," Scanlon said. "We don't believe that there's any merit to the allegations that they entered into executive session improperly."
Scanlon thinks this is just a first step in the county's opposition to Hattiebsurg annexing land along Highway 98.
"Certainly listening to the news reports coming out of Hattiesburg, Lamar County has been vocal that it will oppose Hattiesburg's annexation efforts," Scanlon said. "So it's not surprising that the county and their legal counsel are going to take whatever steps they can to oppose it at every step of the way. This does appear to be their first effort to to prevent the ordinance from becoming effective. We have not officially filed in chancery court yet. I anticipate that will happen this week. Once that's done, I would assume, based on the news reports coming out of Hattiesburg, that Lamar County is going to file opposition pleading to that as well."