Marion County residents express concerns about Columbia annexation

Marion County residents express concerns about Columbia annexation

MARION COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - More than a dozen Marion County residents attended a hearing this morning to oppose the annexation of county sections by the city of Columbia.

"If somebody wanted to live in the city they would have, if somebody wanted to live out of the city they would have chosen too,” said Marion County resident Mark Motley.

Two years ago, the city of Columbia started an annexation study in an effort to grow the city’s revenue.

An annexation plan was passed by the Columbia Board of Aldermen in August of 2019.

Mayor Justin McKenzie said the annexation is a means of bringing more money into the city.

"It's been established that a certain number of businesses that have located just outside the city and the need for expansion for the lack of places to develop inside the city limits,” McKenzie said.

A hearing was held Wednesday morning to establish the proceedings and jurisdiction of the annexation.

More than a dozen concerned Marion County residents showed their opposition of the annexation at the hearing.

“Most of the people that I’ve spoken to that are in the affected areas wanted no part of it from the very beginning,” Motley said. “When they first started talking about this two or three years ago, I didn’t find one person who was in favor of it.”

Motley said one of the main reasons he opposes is because the county residents expenses will increase.

“Our expenses go up, the taxes go up, utilities go up and everything else goes up,” Motley said. “When you live in the country instead of in the city, being held to the same kind of fines for not mowing your lawn when you have five acres is a little bit different when you have a quarter acre. To come forth now and forcibly put you in the city is unfair.”

Mackenzie said he and the Board of Aldermen are readily available to answer any questions residents might have.

"We want people to understand that it's not about any one of us,” McKenzie said. “It's about the benefit to our community and how we ensure our community lasts and is strong for the next 200 years, or 50 years for that matter."

The annexation would bring around 1,000 county residents into the city limits.

There will be a status conference April 28 that is open to the public.

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