Town works to meet annexation needs

Published 6:00 am Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Town of Wesson has grown after annexing several surroundingareas where town services were already being provided, officialssaid.

The court date for the annexation, which included parts ofCopiah and Lincoln counties, was January 3. It was a quick processas Judge Ed Patten is the chancery court judge for both countiesand was able to combine them both into one hearing.

There were no objectors, which also expedited the process, saidWesson Mayor Alton Shaw.

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“We decided to do this partially as an answer to the people whohad requested it, but it’s also a matter of fairness,” he said.”The fire department and the (mosquito) spray trucks and other cityservices were benefiting these areas, but they weren’t being taxedby the city.”

Much of the area is just over the Lincoln County line. Shaw saidit just made sense to add it to the town as well.

“It didn’t make sense for the Lincoln County volunteer firedepartment to come all the way up here when we’re closer in thecity,” he said. “That’s why we were already handling it inplaces.”

While the issue of a municipality being in two counties can be abit confusing, Shaw said it’s not unheard of. He pointed out thatHattiesburg has also expanded into multiple counties as well.

Shaw said it’s hard to tell now how much the city will benefitfiscally from the annexation.

The additional land is almost two and a half square miles,meaning the land size of the town has more than doubled, which willhelp in the area of property taxes. Population-wise, however, itonly includes about 200 more people.

Shaw said Wesson is already working toward adding all thebenefits and amenities the residents in the annexation areasweren’t already getting.

“We will be adding additional hydrants in these areas,” saidShaw. “We’ll also see to it that there are regular police patrols.We’ve already begun filling in the gaps on what these areas needfrom the town that they’re not already getting.”

Currently the population of Wesson is estimated to be around1,900, though Shaw said the daytime population with traffic to theschools and to Copiah-Lincoln Community College putting it up over4,000. Shaw said he’d like to have a new census taken, as the dormrooms on campus were not included in the numbers.

Also, a town must have a population of 2,000 to allow the policedepartment to use radar detectors. With the additional trafficduring the day, a large portion of which is high school and collegestudents, radar could greatly benefit the town both in safety andrevenue, Shaw said.