Annexation transcript ready for review

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 11, 2005

The transcript from the Brookhaven’s annexation trial has beensubmitted, and representatives from the city and objectors willreview it and other court documents before looking to the stateSupreme Court for a final ruling.

Following several extensions, the 15-volume transcript from thetrial, which took place in late 2003 and early 2004, was turned inFriday morning and will be combined with about four volumes ofcourt files and other trial exhibits, said a spokesman for theLincoln County Chancery Clerk’s Office. Each side will have sevendays to review the court documents, which were expected to bedelivered to objectors by the week of July 18.

“Our will and intentions are still there to do what has to bedone,” said Sandra Gerald, spokeswoman for Citizens AgainstAnnexation. “We still do not want to be incorporated into the citylimits.”

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In the trial, a judge approved the annexation of 14.4 squaremiles on all sides of the city. The ruling would allow the city tomore than triple its current size and increase the population from9,861 to 12,964, according to demographic data on theexpansion.

After the review period by both sides and the court documentsare determined to be complete, a briefing schedule for the stateSupreme Court would be set, said City Attorney Joe Fernald.

“That’s when the real work will begin,” Fernald said.

Fernald said extensions during the briefing period are possiblebut the court’s “patience is not unlimited.”

Once the court record has been certified, Fernald said, thecourt will have 270 days to decide under a self-imposed time frame.Given that, the attorney anticipated a resolution in the annexationcase in the summer of 2006.

Citizens Against Annexation includes more than 250 people whosigned up as objectors during the trial. Gerald has said objectorsbelieve there was no justification for annexation of someareas.

“We have good grounds for an appeal,” Gerald said. “We’repreparing to move forward.”

Gerald said objectors are still soliciting funds for theirappeal. He was hopeful that contributions would pick up now thatthe annexation case is back in the spotlight.

“We’re going to have expenses above and beyond what we’vecollected,” said Gerald, although she did not say how much moneyhas been raised. “We’re anticipating additional expenses.”

Outside of the Board of Aldermen and other some officials,Gerald said she has heard from no one who believes the annexationin its current state is justified. She was hopeful for a goodoutcome during the appeals process.

“We have to move forward, do what we can and hope the SupremeCourt sees it our way,” Gerald said.