by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher
Last Tuesday, December 7, the city of Long Beach Board of Aldermen adopted a city ordinance for annexation in the county on a 6-1 vote. Ward 1 Alderman Patrick Bennett was the only dissenting vote on the proposed annexation.
After completing a decade-long study, the “Friendly City” authorized their attorney (Carroll, Warren, and Parker, LLC & Slaughter and Associates) to move forward and file an annexation complaint in chancery court. The Long Beach Board of Aldermen still have to ratify the ordinance once the minutes are approved at the December 21 meeting.
Ordinance 657 stated the city was enlarging, extending and defining the corporate limits and boundaries of the city of Long Beach; specifying the improvements to be made in the annexed territory and the municipal or public services to be rendered thereto.
The pros of the possible annexation of the acquired area included up to and past Interstate 10 would be a significant boost in the property tax base. Plus the annexation would provide the potential for more sales tax if additional businesses set up shop around what is already a busy exit on County Farm Road.
According to Long Beach Mayor George Bass; the previous board and administration in 2017, looked into updating and proceeding with the 2011 annexation study for the city.
“We have one direction that we can annex and that’s north,” expressed the mayor, who was discussing the boundary between east and west concerns with other municipalities. “Our large tracts of land are becoming very small, not something we can control.”
About 2700 people will increase the city size based on the annexation proposal and over 20 miles of land north of the current boundaries, but most are wetlands that would have to be mitigated for any development.
“There are no formal agreements with the county or any other entity,” said Long Beach City Attorney and former Harrison County Circuit Court Judge Steve Simpson. “These measures are subject to change which is the reason the city has gone through a study.”
The only way to annex property in the state of Mississippi is going through chancery court and file a petition. The court makes the ultimate decision.
One concern is for the local county residents in the proposed annexed property adhering to city ordinances for their residence.
“There will be some grandfather clauses to current county residents,” stated Mayor Bass. “Those who have owned county land or residents of the proposed annexed land will be allowed to live like they currently are.”
All amenities, recreational activities, public works services, water, sewer, building department services, fire and police protection will be provided if the proposal by the city is given the green light through court, according to Bass.
Furthermore, Simpson said the city of Long Beach will argue that based on the lengthy studies and projected growth, “here is what we’re asking the court to incorporate,” as he pointed to the proposal.
The proposed map boundaries from the northside is Landon Road; which will not include Landon Lake Estates, the western follows the Wolf River Road until the Landon intersection, and the eastern on the section line of Gulfport.
Despite the city’s proposal, the school district boundaries will not change. Bass nor any city official have reportedly spoken to any county official based on the annexation ordinance proposal.