By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
BLUE SPRINGS – Chancery Judge Michael Malski on Friday approved the proposed annexation that would double Blue Springs’ population and triple its area.
The plan goes west and south to U.S. Highway 78 from the present 1.3-square-mile village limits that now center on State Highway 9 about a mile north of Highway 78.
“The Court finds the proposed enlargement and extension of the municipal boundaries of the Village of Blue Springs, Mississippi, is reasonable and required by the public convenience and necessity, that reasonable public and municipal services will be rendered in the annexed territory within a reasonable time and that the Village of Blue Springs is capable (of) providing said public and municipal services,” Malski wrote in his eight-page opinion.
The decree does require attorneys for Blue Springs and neighboring Sherman to draft language that would remove several acres of contested territory from the southeast portion of the annexation.
Mayor David Boland says he’s optimistic about getting the further required approval from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Justice review is required on most political boundary changes in Mississippi and several other states by the Voting Rights Act to assure that minority voting strength is not diluted.
The annexation would raise the village’s black population from 1.8 percent to 3.0 percent.
Fewer than 20 people appeared at a hearing last month to oppose the annexation. Most comments focused on Blue Springs’ current lack of sewer and police services or the expense of municipal taxes or sewer fees, but Boland says the annexation makes such services more feasible.
“We are going to be applying for grants for sewer service,” he said. “We will talk to Tupelo to hooking up to their sewer line that runs out to Toyota instead of us building a treatment plant.”
The bottom line, Boland said, was that Toyota had asked for ordinances that would ensure compatible developments near its plant entrance.
“The (Memorandum of Understanding) with Toyota promised them that part of the land around them would be zoned,” he said.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.