By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
MANTACHIE – After more than two years, the town of Mantachie has finally made Fawn Grove a part of its borders … at least in part.
During a recent meeting of the town’s board of aldermen, board attorney Greg Keenum said the Mississippi Chancery Court ruled in favor of the town’s petition to incorporate the right-of-way on Fawn Grove Road south to the Toyota Boshoku plant as well as the corners where Fawn Grove Road intersects both Highway 371 and Highway 78.
Keenum and Mayor Jeff Butler appeared before the Itawamba County Chancery Court, which has to approve such changes, on Jan. 8, 2013. The incorporation took effect that day.
“The annexation is done and official; that area is now a part of the town,” Keenum told the board.
The total cost of the project – which included attorney’s and surveyor’s fees – was approximately $15,000.
What does this change mean for the residents of both Mantachie and Fawn Grove? Very little, at this point. While, for all purposes, the stretch of newly-incorporated land is a part of the town of Mantachie, none of the homes and property along this roadway were included in the annexation.
Because no homes were incorporated in the annexation, the town will not provide police or fire protection to the homes along the newly-incorporated area, but only along Fawn Grove Road itself.
Officials are thinking of the annexation as more of an investment in the future than a tangible benefit to the present. Aldermen in favor of the annexation believe the opening of the Toyota Boshoku plant will lead to smaller businesses arriving, particularly at the intersection of Fawn Grove Road and Highway 78.
They claim the town will benefit from the tax dollars such businesses would bring in. The mayor previously stated that incorporating an area that’s likely to see development is simply good planning on the town’s part.
But the decision to annex Fawn Grove wasn’t a unified one; board members Tim Jones and Matt Fennell voted against the petition on two occasions. Both stated that the cost of the project was too high and might prove unfruitful.
The two opposing aldermen said there were other areas of the town that had been incorporated but hadn’t received the proper utility services, including Camp, Mt. Pisgah and Sonny’s roads. The board later voted to provide services to those areas for about $300,000 and continued to press forward with the annexation process.
Talks of annexing Fawn Grove Road began as far back as 2011. When talks of expanding the city’s limits toward the Toyota Boshoku site first began, the idea was to incorporate Fawn Grove outright.
This plan prepares the town for benefits of any potential new businesses, but allows the residents of Fawn Grove to remain outside Mantachie’s limits.