LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - There's a long road ahead for residents for and against the proposed incorporation of The City of Bellevue.
The jurisdictional trial has been set for May 7, 2018 in Purvis.
"It's going to be a long process moving forward," said potential mayor John Adcock after the hearing Monday. "This is just the next step in the process of incorporation so we feel good about today and feel like we are moving forward."
During that trial, the number of signatures on the petition filed for the incorporation will be counted and approved. There must be accurate signatures of two-thirds of registered voters in the proposed boundary for the trial over incorporation to continue in Lamar County.
Adcock would not discuss the number of signatures on the petition due to litigation, but said they have what is necessary to move forward.
Betty Arnold, chairman for the Concerned Citizens of Bellevue, said members of the group went through the petition in June.
"We've had the numbers as soon as the petition was filed, we got a copy and we have a count already," Arnold said.
"We have checked and double-checked that and they are quite a few signatures short, approximately 998 short," said Arnold. "They have about 40-percent of the registered electorates in the proposed area."
With close to 6,200 people in the community proposed for incorporation, the number of signatures needed is around 2,500.
Attorneys representing both the Incorporation of The City of Bellevue and the Concerned Citizens of Bellevue agreed the process of checking those signatures will take some time. The judge marked off two weeks on his calendar.
A pretrial conference has been set for Wednesday, May 2, 2018. Attorneys were told to have documents ready to exchange before the trial begins on May 7.
If the incorporation happens, Bellevue will be the fifth city in Lamar County.