Blue Springs adopts annexation

While the Blue Springs Board of Alderman passed an annexation ordinance Tuesday to add on to the corporate limits of the Village of Blue Springs, officials say it may be a few months before it receives state approval.

The ordinance is for enlarging, extending, and defining the village’s boundaries to include certain lands situated in the county.

Upon approval of the annexation, there are requirements of services that will have to be provided within five years to the residents within the village.

The ordinance states, “The Village of Blue Springs shall make the following improvements in said annexed territory to be completed within a reasonable time, not to exceed five years from the effective date of this Ordinance, unless delayed by war or military preparedness: improve existing streets and drainage where necessary and economically feasible and legally permissible; install sewage disposal lines, and street lighting, where necessary and economically feasible and legally permissible; police protection; code enforcement; animal control; said services shall be furnished where necessary and  economically feasible and legally permissible”

Blue Springs Mayor David Boland said, “We are going to apply for as many grants as possible to be able to provide all of these services to the residents in the Village of Blue Springs.”

There are many entities from which the aldermen say they will apply for grants. Some of these include, but are not limited to, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Mississippi Development Authority, the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University, and Three Rivers Planning and Development District.

Union County Board of Supervisors Attorney and PUL Alliance member Thad Mueller came before the board to discuss annexation with the board members.

Pontotoc Union Lee (PUL) Alliance is Mississippi’s first regional economic development alliance. 

Mueller said, “The annexation ordinance is passed, but is not effective yet. The area between Blue Springs, all of the way to the Toyota plant is the natural growth for Blue Springs. Annexation will increase the opportunity to obtain grant funds to be able to provide those services.”

Oxford-based Planning and Consulting Firm Slaughter and Associates are the hired planners for this project and the PUL Alliance is helping out with fees associated with the annexation.

Meg Crockett, planner and project manager for Slaughter and Associates, said, “The next step (for Slaughter and Associates) is to use land use and census data to do a demographic study area.”

There are many steps that have to be taken in order for annexation to be fully approved. The first step in the annexation process is to pass the ordinance, which the board did. The next step is for a petition  to be filed with the Union County Chancery Court, then there are publication requirements with the New Albany Gazette, then notices will be posted in the areas to be annexed and in publicly designated locations. Finally, a public hearing will be held in the Union County Chancery Courtroom, the judge will either approve or deny the proposed annexation, then the annexation will have to be approved or denied by the Justice Department.

At the public hearing, residents will have the ability to contest the annexation and/or ask questions.

According to the ordinance, “The Ordinance shall become effective ten days after the date of the entry of the Decree of the Chancery Court of Union County, Miss., ratifying, approving, and confirming the enlargement and extension of the boundaries of the Village of Blue Springs, Miss., as established by this Ordinance and Decree of said Chancery Court.”

Claudette Jones with the  John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University came before the board and told them that she could help the board with research, grants, infrastructure, looking into different costs, and other areas. She said, “You are a small village and you are going to be hit with expansive growth and I can help I see y’all experiencing a lot of growth, but you don’t want to grow haphazardly.” The board agreed to accept her help.

 The Blue Springs Board of Aldermen will reconvene at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at Blue Springs City Hall.