AP NEWS

Starkville narrows annexation plan after residents say no

July 7, 2019

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A proposal for annexation is being revised after some county residents in northern Mississippi said they don’t want to become part of a city.

Starkville aldermen on Tuesday dropped the city’s plan to take in part of the University Estates neighborhood, which is east of the Mississippi State University campus.

The neighborhood’s residents turned out in large numbers at a hearing last month to say they want to be left alone, the Starkville Daily News reported.

At another meeting Tuesday, several other Oktibbeha County residents said the same thing. Some groaned when an annexation consultant said there was no immediate proposal to spend money on sewer lines.

The Commercial Dispatch reported that county resident Carl Ivy called the annexation a “land grab.”

“I wonder why you don’t understand why these people don’t want to be a part of the city,” Ivy said, winning applause from the audience.

He said the city has not fulfilled promises it made during annexation 21 years ago.

“And the way you’ve drawn it up, it’s the definition of gerrymandering, drawing crazy lines to bring us in. It’s nothing but a land grab to take my tax dollars and spend it in other parts of the city,” Ivy said.

Another resident, Jim Chrisman, said the annexation could dilute black voting strength in Starkville.

“In the annexed area, the shift in the population would decrease the margin of black voters by about 100 people,” Chrisman said. “I would remind you that the last election was decided by less than 10 votes. This is a real concern.”

James Chamberlain was an exception among county residents who spoke Tuesday, saying he supports annexation.

“I firmly believe that we need to expand the tax base to provide the services everyone enjoys,” Chamberlain said. “I doubt there is any resident in these areas who has not used city services of some kind. At the moment, I enjoy those benefits without paying my fair share for the services I enjoy and without any say in what happens as a voter.”

A third public hearing about annexation is set for Aug. 2.

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