Saltillo to contest Tupelo annexation win

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

SALTILLO – The city of Saltillo will join Lee County in appealing a judge’s decision to allow Tupelo’s annexation of some 16 square miles.
The Board of Alderman on Tuesday unanimously voted to file an appeal, said board attorney Jason Herring.
“We generally have identified the same issues as the county,” he said. “Although there will be other issues, too.”
Herring declined to elaborate on what other issues might appear in the city’s appeal. He did say, though, that Saltillo will file its appeal separately from the county’s.
Lee County supervisors had voted unanimously Monday to appeal Judge Edward C. Prisock’s decision granting Tupelo’s annexation request. It was issued Nov. 22, and opponents have 30 days from that date to appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
The county is seeking its appeal based largely on four factors on which it thinks the judge erred: the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case; the credibility of the city’s expert witness; the potential for double-taxation to annexed residents for fire protection; and the legitimacy of the city’s services-and-facilities plan, which it would implement if annexation is successful.
The town of Plantersville also had fought the annexation in court alongside Lee County and the city of Saltillo. Plantersville attorney Jason Shelton said the board hasn’t yet decided whether to appeal but will meet again before the deadline to vote on it.
City officials say they’re disappointed opponents will appeal the judge’s decision, calling it a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Nearly $1 million in legal fees have been paid so far.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.