HED:Aberdeen addresses annexation issues

CATEGORY: Monroe County

AUTHOR: EILEEN

HED:Aberdeen addresses annexation issues

By Eileen Bailey

Daily Journal

ABERDEEN – Aberdeen officials met with business and land owners in chancery court Wednesday in the hopes of ironing out concerns over the expansion of the city’s limits.

Mayor William Tisdale said the business and land owners raised concerns about the city’s efforts to annex about two square miles.

The annexation plan was approved by the Aberdeen Board of Aldermen in November 1997 and has been in the works since that time.

City officials hope to corner the market on expected growth west of current city boundaries along the new U.S. Highway 45 bypass under construction.

The city, Tisdale said, would like to control what happens in the two square miles that will run on either side of the new highway.

The annexation would take in a strip of property west of town that runs south to northeast and includes property on the east side of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

Attorney Kenneth Burns of Okolona represents two businesses and several landowners in the area. Burns said he asked a chancery court judge to postpone a hearing set for Wednesday so he could complete discovery in the case.

The main concerns of the businesses and landowners are an increase in taxes and whether the city can provide the services it promised when it filed the annexation plans, he said.

“We are cautiously optimistic that we can get it resolved,” Burns said.

Tisdale said the city hopes to work out any issues with the landowners and business owners before the Feb. 25 hearing.

It will cost $1.4 million to provide utilities to the 10 homes and to any future construction in the annexed area. Tisdale said

“We feel like the court will give us possibly five years to provide services,” he said. “We feel in that time through grants, revenue bonds and other sources we can meet the needs of the development as it progresses.”

The eastern part of the annexation would not include the addition of electricity, and the residents in that area have waived the need for any water or sewer services, Tisdale said.

Once approved by the chancery court, the annexation plan will go to the U.S. Justice Department for approval.