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From Staff Reports
Barring the unexpected, the Town of Leakesville will soon start relocating its town limit signs.
The Mississippi Supreme Court handed over its long-awaited decision last week on the matter of the Town of Leakesville’s annexation plan. By unanimous vote, the state’s high court affirmed the lower court findings that it is beneficial for the town to incorporate areas to increase the size of Leakesville’s city limits.
The Chancery Court affirmed the annexation in Feb. 2018, however the motion to annex certain areas was objected to by a group known as Citizens for the Betterment of Leakesville. Known as the ‘Objectors’ in court filings, the group challenged the effectiveness and fairness of the annexation and appealed to the higher court.
The objectors have 14 days in which to file a motion for a rehearing of the evidence. Barring any objections, the Supreme Court will issue a mandate 21 days from the date of affirmation, making the potential effective date for official annexation Sunday, Nov. 24.
Leakesville Mayor George Perkins said he wanted to wait until the process is finalized before issuing a detailed statement, but acknowledged he was pleased with the court’s decision.
“I am happy with the unanimous decision by the supreme court on this issue and looking forward to moving ahead for the betterment of all involved,” Perkins said.
Town officials are preparing to disseminate information to residents affected by the annexation. Town Clerk Rex Garretson said residents affected by the annexation will not have any changes in utility services until after the first of the year. Furthermore, tax rates for homeowners and land owners in the newly incorporated areas will stay under the county until tax year 2021.
The approved annexation expands the town limits in four separate areas. The first follows the right-of-way of Miss. 63 northwest from the town’s current limits and takes in Southeast Mississippi Correctional Facility and the Greene County Industrial park. The municipal boundary will also extend out along Old Avera Road to a section line just north of New Hope Baptist Church and to that same section line along Paulding Road. The third area follows Miss. 57 southwest, taking in Turner-Duvall Retirement Village and several homes adjacent to the highway. It takes in the 16th section property to encompass Greene County High School and the Jones County Junior College Greene County Center and the Greene County Vo-Tech on the west side of Vo-Tech Road. It also takes in Wildcat Corner convenience store and restaurant at the intersection of High School Road and Miss. 57. The final area extends the town limits across the Chickasawhay River out to the intersection with 4-lane Miss. 63. The annexed area will also include the property along both sides of Old Hwy. 57 to Annex Road and all the area between Annex Road and Miss. 63/57, including the elementary school and the residential area around it.
Residents with questions about the annexation can contact Leakesville Town Hall at (601)394-2383.