Hattiesburg takes another step in annexation push

The two initiatives are on the Hattiesburg City Council's agenda for Tuesday night's meeting.
The two initiatives are on the Hattiesburg City Council's agenda for Tuesday night's meeting.(WDAM)
Published: Apr. 26, 2019 at 5:30 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2019 at 5:51 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) _ A final resolution may remain far down the road, but the City of Hattiesburg took another step Friday in its annexation efforts west and north of the current city limits.

In a specially called meeting, the Hattiesburg City Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution for a “services and facilities” plan in the proposed annexation areas west along the U.S. 98 corridor and north along U.S. 49 to the Covington County line.

The plan provides a current reckoning of personnel and assets in the city’s various departments, including police, fire, recreations and parks and others, while estimating the additional costs in staffing and equipment to provide city services to the annexed areas.

“That would include any sort of city service, city facility or city connection for utility infrastructure that would be needed,” said Ann Jones, city chief administrative officer.

The city passed an ordinance on the annexations and has filed petitions in chancery courts Lamar and Forrest counties, respectively. The city’s plans are facing opposition in both counties, with some depositions already taken in the Lamar County litigation.

Jones said Friday’s action was just another step in the annexation process.

“The next step in the process would be any additional (legal) discovery of plans such as this up to depositions of heads of departments,” Jones said. “(The plan) is part of our discovery in how we plan to provide services and facilities to those areas.”

The council also unanimously adopted a resolution “to levy, assess and collect” the additional 1 percent sales tax that was approved by an 80-percent majority of Hattiesburg voters who cast a ballot in Tuesday’s special election. The collection of the tax will begin on June 1.

The council also unanimously authorized the administration to apply for a Mississippi Department of Transportation “Multimodal Improvement Grant,” that would be earmarked for building additional restrooms at the Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport terminal. The project was estimated to come in at $170,000, with the grant picking up 95 percent of the cost.

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