NEW ALBANY – Three Alcorn County drainage districts were reactivated Friday in a chancery court order that clears the way to begin its work to mitigate future flooding in Corinth.
Chancery Court Judge Talmadge Littlejohn sped up the schedule for a hearing on the petition to reestablish the drainage districts, placing it on his calendar in New Albany ahead of the date he would return to Alcorn County late this month.
“This is a very favorable result for us, so now we can go ahead as an agency of the state of Mississippi,” said Milton L. Sandy Jr., Elam Creek commissioner and spokesman for the panel of commissioners.
The petition also approves appointing Robert Scott IV as drainage district engineer and N. “Chad” Borden as drainage district attorney.
Alcorn County supervisors approved reestablishing three of the county’s numerous historical drainage districts – Bridge Creek, Elam Creek and Phillips Creek – in June, and appointed Sandy, John Warren Henson and William Hull Davis Sr. as the three commissioners.
They have since been working toward having the chancery court certify the districts as legal entities to qualify for public funds.
The petition signed by Littlejohn includes language permitting the drainage districts to borrow $150,000 “for the purposes of prosecuting the work required to maintain these drainage ditches, paying the expenses incident thereto, attorney’s fees, legal expenses, costs of publication and other necessary expenses.”
The legal document also establishes the drainage districts as legal taxing authorities.
“We have no plans at this point in time to come up with any kind of drainage tax,” Sandy said. “The taxing authority applies to the property owners in the drainage districts, but the entire city of Corinth drains into these canals, and it would not be equitable to tax only property owners in the drainage districts.”
A funding proposal has been discussed which would have the drainage districts borrow seed money from the city of Corinth, but they must await city action before they can proceed.
“Right now I have no insurance or bonding (as a commissioner) because there is no funding to do that,” Sandy said, “so I can’t enter into any kind of agreement to do anything. There has to be some kind of funding mechanism in place.”
Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal