LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - After roughly 20 months of working to gather signatures on a petition to incorporate the city of Bellevue, proposed leaders have met their goal.
Potential Bellevue leaders addressed the Lamar County Board of Supervisors during their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday to deliver the news.
"We needed two-thirds of the registered voters and we've surpassed that mark, so we are officially filing the petition to become the next city in the State of Mississippi," said John Adcock, potential mayor of Bellevue.
Adcock refused to disclose the actual number of signatures that the group has collected.
"It's in litigation right now, and we're not going to give a specific number," Adcock said. "The next step is officially filing the petition in chancery court, which we intend to do first thing tomorrow (Friday) morning, and then it will be in litigation."
Lamar County District 4 Supervisor Phillip Carlisle said he has supported the plans for the future city and the voters.
"The reason I was a supporter of Bellevue is I see change coming," Carlisle said. "I go with the will of the people, now is it a hundred percent of the people, absolutely not."
At least one resident in the audience stood up during the meeting to voice his concerns, and stated he was happy with what the county had, and the supervisors have done, seeing nothing a new city could provide for anyone.
Addressing the supervisors, Adcock urged city of Hattiesburg officials to pull their plans to annex further into Lamar County.
The next step will be the official filing in Lamar County Chancery Court, and then move on to litigation regarding the matter.
"It's litigation obviously in Lamar County, but we will be certainly moving to have our case consolidated with the Hattiesburg annexation case," Adcock said.
At some point, a judge will set a date for a hearing, giving people the opportunity to voice their opposition or support for the future city.
Carlisle said if the plans for the city materialize, the county would also see drop in millage.
"We'll lose some millage, for instance, sanitation…there may be some memorandum of inner local agreements, that the board may have to assist them with, consider assisting them with…because they would be a new city," Carlisle said.
Adocock said, "Well, they see the change is taking place in the community, it's inevitable, and like I said, you can either choose to be in the driver's seat or you can opt to be a passenger and we've chosen to be in the driver's seat."
Carlisle said, "What I like to see is people that live in the area have a say so in how everything develops. I'm all about the people that we all work for, and if they want the city of Bellevue, it'll be up to the judge."