Tuesday important for area’s future

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 3, 2003

Tuesday represents the formal beginning of an important processthat will help shape the future of Brookhaven and Lincoln Countyfor years to come.

Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Lincoln County Chancery Court is thescheduled time for the city’s initial hearing on its annexationrequest. The city is asking the court to allow the annexation ofmore than 16.5 miles.

For its request to be granted, the city must address 12categories that relate to why the annexation is reasonable andworthy of approval. The categories, or “indicia of reasonableness,”deal with such issues as city path of growth, minority votingstrength, need for zoning in the proposed annexation area, andother topics.

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Other issues not included in the 12 criteria must also beaddressed. City officials have been meeting with some majorindustry officials about their increased tax concerns, and countyvolunteer fire department officials have voiced some concerns aboutthe potential for decreased operating revenue due to theannexation.

From a legal standpoint, city officials believe they have theevidence to support their case. They say they can show that thetime frame, typically five years, for providing city services tonewly-annexed areas can be met.

Supporters say annexation is needed for the city’s continuedeconomic development. As Lincoln County’s only city, the county’sgrowth is closely tied to the city’s prosperity.

Some citizens in the proposed annexation area are not sold onthe city expansion concept.

They say they do not need city services and are more thanpleased with those provided by county entities. They also haveconcerns about an increased tax burden on their properties.

Those opposed to the annexation will have an opportunity to beheard Tuesday in court. It was not known how many objectors willshow up for the first hearing.

Depending on objections Tuesday, the annexation issue could bepostponed until a later date. The case would then shift to a morestructured, trial-type setting.

Regardless of which side of the city limits a person lives on,the ultimate decision on annexation will affect everyone’s lives.The process begins Tuesday and it is important that everyone takean interest in the proceedings.