The City of Laurel is moving ahead with plans to annex the Pendorff community south of town.
"We've actually been working on this since about 2014," Mayor Magee said. "It's taken a while to get to this point. We're hoping the judge will award us that part of Pendorff we are asking for."
WDAM caught up with the Pittman Howdeshell Law Firm in Hattiesburg who is representing the Pendorff Community Association, LLC in this legal fight. Attorney Chris Howdeshell said his team is working to stop the annexation from happening.
"We intend to prove that Laurel's request to annex the Pendorff area is unreasonable under Mississippi law and should not be granted by the court," Howdeshell said.
"The attorneys for the Pendorff area and the City of Ellisville are opposing our annexation," Magee said. "But, we feel like we have a strong enough case that services will be better."
Howdeshell said this matter will go before the Chancery Court of Jones County in Laurel with a trial date currently set for June 4th.
We spoke with a resident that approves of the annexation, while a local business owner was against the idea.
"Oh, it would be amazing," said Tracy Tolbert, who works at one of Pendorff's businesses. "Right now the county is pretty tied up with the area being so big and the City of Laurel just being two or three minutes away, it would be awesome. I think it would bring more business to the area."
Tolbert approves the change, but local business owners don't agree with the incorporation.
"Not really fond of it," Chris Holifield, who has owned and operated H & H welding in Pendorff for 15 years. "They can't even take care of what they have down there in Laurel. So, there's no sense in coming down here. It's not going to benefit us any, any of the businesses down here."
Holified said annexation would be a mistake and cost businesses more money.
"Actually, it's going to up our taxes. Mainly our truck taxes, you know for our tags," he said.
Magee said the community will see the benefits.
"The pluses for Laurel is that it will increase our population and also it will increase our sales tax collection from the businesses in the area," Magee said.
"The attorneys for the Pendorff area and the City of Ellisville are opposing our annexation," Magee said. "But, we feel like we have a strong enough case that services will be better. Their sewer services will be better, their water services will be better, insurance will go down immediately and that's a big plus for them."
Right now the possibility of the annexation is still undecided. Magee hopes the matter will go to court in June.
"Well, I don't think they need to annex us," Holifield said. "We are right here between Laurel and Ellisville. There's nothing to gain with Pendorff. Pendorff is a little bitty community and they are not going to make any tax revenue off us."
"Making Pendorff part of the city, it's going to change a lot of things. So, I think it would be good," Tolbert said.
We will keep you updated on the newest developments.