Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Annexation Process

If you read the paper today, then you know the Mayor wants to double the size of the city by annexing parts of the county. I was curious how this process would work. So I went to the Mississippi Secretary of State's website, where I can look at the Mississippi Code, assuming that Natchez must conform to state laws governing annexation.

This information is found in Title 21 Municipalities: Chapter 1 Classifiction, Creation, Abolition, and Expansion. Extention or Contraction of Corporate Boundaries is found Sections
§ 21-1-27 through §21-1-41.

First, the City has to pass an ordinance (following procedures in the City Code) defining the changed boundaries, describing proposed improvements in the annexed territory and when they will be made, and stating the services the City will provide to the annexed territory. Unless they decide to suspend the rules, we may assume the public will have an opportunity to be heard.

Next, the City files a petition in the Chancery Court. Any parties interested in, affected by, or aggrieved by the annexation have the right to appear at the hearing. The chancellor (which I assume is the Chancery Court Judge) decides if the annexation "is reasonable and is required by the public convenience and necessity" and that "reasonable public and municipal services will be rendered . . . in a reasonable time". The burden of proof is on the City. The chancellor also has the power to modify the annexation.

The decree of the chancellor goes into effect in 10 days, unless appealed before that. The City or any person aggrieved by the decision may appeal, and it goes to the Mississippi State Supreme Court for a final decision. The loser pays for the costs of the appeal.

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