Municipal status sought for Fernwood

Some residents of the Fernwood community in Pike County are circulating petitions to become a city.

Scott Johnson, the self-described mayor of Fernwood, has sent letters to local residents outlining plans to incorporate.

Johnson and other community leaders said they want to keep from being annexed by McComb or Magnolia.

In his letter, Johnson said the city of Fernwood would be about seven and a half square miles, have a population of just under 1,000 people and would be able "to control our own destiny."

"We cannot afford to become part of McComb or Magnolia," he said.

Johnson's letter cites increased water and sewage rates and property taxes in McComb and Magnolia and says Fernwood would have an operating budget funded by a 26.7 mill tax rate, which he says would be the lowest in Pike County.

"We will be the envy of all other cities, including McComb, Magnolia, Summit and Osyka," Johnson said.

Johnson said a city police force could be on patrol in two years, and a public works department would be in operation in three.

The incorporation process requires the signatures of two-thirds of qualified electors in the proposed town.