By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Sherman Mayor Ben Logan testified as an expert witness in municipal law, government and planning Tuesday during a Lee County Chancery Court annexation hearing related to doubling the size of the town of 650 residents.
The first of three hearings scheduled in counties that cover part of Sherman’s town limits, District 1 Chancery Court Judge Talmadge Littlejohn listened to a host of reasons from Logan explaining why the town should have permission to annex mostly undeveloped surrounding land.
Littlejohn said he will decide whether to approve the annexation on Monday following a related hearing in New Albany. Another annexation hearing is scheduled today in Pontotoc.
Attorney John Hill, representing the city of Tupelo, formally removed objections to the annexation after an agreement was reached to keep a 1.8-mile buffer between the two municipalities. Blue Springs, Sherman’s smaller neighbor to the west, does not object to the annexation plan that results in the two towns bordering each other.
Among reasons to support the annexation, Logan’s testimony included Sherman’s proximity to Toyota’s automotive manufacturing facility, limitations for future growth within current town boundaries, providing zoning restrictions along sections of Highway 78 and increasing the municipality’s tax base.
“We need more residential subdivisions and commercial businesses there,” he said.
Since 1990, Census data shows Sherman with nearly 19 percent. In recent years, the town also landed KC Integrated Services, a Tier 1 Toyota supplier, which added about 100 jobs to the community.
Logan said he’s not aware of any opposition from the 36 residents who would enter the town limits through annexation. Town services that would be available to annexed areas including fire protection, police, zoning and building inspections, public works and sewer systems. Sherman would provide water to annexed areas not already served by the North Lee County Water Association.
While some services would extend immediately after annexation, others such as sewer services already exist in some of the areas and would expand as development occurs, Logan said.
“We’re financially about to meet the needs of the annexed areas,” he said.
Logan, Sherman’s mayor for 13 years, was hired in October as city attorney for the city of Tupelo and said then he would continue as Sherman mayor until the annexation process ends.