Annexation foes to discuss plans at Tues. meeting

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 19, 2004

With an annexation order expected soon, objectors are lining upresources and gauging support for challenging the city expansionplan.

A meeting of Citizens Against Annexation is scheduled forTuesday at 6 p.m. at the Western Sizzlin.

Jackson attorney T. Jackson Lyons will be present to discuss theannexation situation with the group, said organizer Sandra Gerald.She said Lyons specializes in appellate practice andconsulting.

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“He’ll give us a briefing on the appellate process and answerany questions about what might happen in the procedure,” Geraldsaid.

Gerald is among more than 200 objectors who challenged thecity’s ability to meet annexation obligation during a trial lastyear and earlier this year. Following the trial, a specialchancellor awarded Brookhaven the authority to annex 14.4 squaremiles of territory.

The city had sought a 16.6 square-mile area, but portions westof Interstate 55 and a private landowner’s property in thenortheast corner were excluded. The 14.4-square mile approvedannexation area would almost triple the city’s current 7.3 squaremiles to 21.7 square miles.

A court order on the approved annexation is circulating amongattorneys and the judge for their signatures. Once the order isreturned to the Lincoln County Chancery Clerk’s Office, theannexation will take effect within 10 days and objectors will have30 days to file an appeal.

Gerald said court proceedings during an appeal are differentfrom the original trial in that new evidence or testimony is notinvolved.

“It’s not a finder of fact,” Gerald said about the appealsprocess, adding that Lyons is expected to discuss that Tuesday.

Objectors are in the process of trying to raise $20,000 to$25,000 for their appeal.

At present, Gerald said they are short of that goal. She addedshe has received pledges of financial support and also mentionedthe possibility of fund-raisers to get money for the appeal.

Since the May 3 ruling, there has been little discussion aboutthe annexation. However, Gerald said interest in an appeal ispicking up with the upcoming court order filing.

“The phone is starting to ring again,” Gerald said.