Hattiesburg looking to expand city boundaries, city council passes ordinance
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Hattiesburg city council passed an ordinance 4-0 Tuesday to annex land in Forrest and Lamar county, its looking to expand the Hub city boundaries along Highway 98 and 49.
City council President, Kim Bradley, said, "It has to do with revenue, people paying their part and an annexation is a way that you grow your city."
Bradley said the purpose of the annexation is to build and develop residential and commercial areas.
The city proposes to expand Highway 98 west, Highway 49 North, and the Windlass drive neighborhood.
According to Bradley $22 million dollars of the $46 million the city spends every year comes through sales tax. Expanding the city limits will allow funds to generate within Hattiesburg.
"Its to get ourselves into a position to generate sales tax revenue, that is obviously the largest driver of our revenue of our side of the budget" added Bradley.
He said he would not be surprised if people oppose the annexation, and expects it from private landowners and specific communities affected by the annexation.
The passing of the ordinance comes after Governor Phil Bryant signing Senate Bill 2198 on Monday, which states:
"AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 21-1-27, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES OF CERTAIN MUNICIPALITIES SHALL CEDE CONTROL OVER ZONING AND SUBDIVISION REGULATIONS TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE COUNTY IN WHICH THE TERRITORY TO BE ANNEXED IS LOCATED IF A CERTAIN NUMBER OF PEOPLE RESIDING IN THE TERRITORY ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE PROPOSED ANNEXATION; TO AMEND SECTION 21-1-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM; TO CREATE A NEW SECTION TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN COUNTY OR MUNICIPAL POSITIONS SHALL BE UNDER THE RETIREMENT SYSTEM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES."
John Scanlon who is representing the cities' litigation mentioned Hattiesburg would need to take in at least 50% of residents living in a census block to be able to control zoning of that area.
"They have identified the census blocks of which the city will be taking more than 50% of the residents, and those census blocks of which the city will be taking 50% or less" Scanlon said.
Scanlon mentioned the city drafted an ordinance in such a way that certifies it both ways depending on which census block is affected.
The city is signing a petition to both Forrest and Lamar chancery court for approval or denial of the annexation according to Scanlon and Bradley.
He said, "The chancery court has 3 options, one would be to grant the annexation in whole, another would be to deny it in whole, and then the third option would be to modify what is requested and award some of the territory to the city, but not award all of it."
Scanlon added people who oppose the annexation will have a chance to shed their side in court, but the entire process can take months.