TUPELO – Nearly all of the new Tupelo residents annexed in 2012 attending a City Hall meeting raised their hands to show they received water service from North Lee County Water Association.
Only a sprinkle of hands remained when asked how many felt satisfied with their water service.
About 40 of the 3,000 recently annexed residents learned details of receiving city services of water, sewer and fire protection at Thursday’s meeting. Annexed Deer Park resident and Ward 5 City Council member Buddy Palmer emceed the town-hall style event, which included leaders from related city departments other elected officials.
“This time of year when your tax bills are due, you’re entitled to know what you’re getting for your money,” Mayor Jason Shelton told the group.
Some residents wanted to know exactly how close planned city fire hydrants would be from their homes, while others wanted to know about sewer hookups. But nearly all seemed eager to hear city leaders say Tupelo Water & Light would provide their water service.
City plans have $21 million in water and sewer infrastructure planned for installation in annexed areas during a three-year period, ending in 2016.
Dwight and Susan Griffin didn’t originally like the idea of annexation but have reconsidered after appreciating the value of land use controls and the possibility of switching from North Lee County Water Association to city water utilities, which has lower rates and the water is considered higher quality.
“I like it in hopes of getting city water because North Lee water stinks – literally,” Susan Griffin said after the meeting.
For many of the most recently annexed residents, success of ongoing negotiations between the rural water association and the city will help them decide the value of paying Tupelo municipal taxes.
Deer Park resident Paul White said he didn’t mind annexation knowing his water utility could change.
“We’re very happy with that,” he said.