Initiatives, Plans and Proposals
Annexation Process & Proposed Land Use Map
1. First, the City has to enact an ordinance “defining with certainty” the territory proposed to be annexed, give the description of the present municipal boundaries, and a complete description of the total new proposed boundary of the municipal limits with the new area included in the description.
2. After the ordinance is adopted, it won’t go into effect for thirty (30) days. During that period, the City will prepare a map or plat of the area to be annexed (really the map or plat should be made part of the ordinance extending the municipal boundaries). When the ordinance is finally adopted by the Council, at that point the next step is to file a Petition in the Chancery Court of Lowndes County seeking to have a Decree entered granting the annexation.
3. After the Petition is filed, the Chancellor shall fix a date certain to have a hearing on the Petition to expand the municipal boundaries. Once the hearing is set, the City then has to publish as required by the Mississippi Code for three (3) consecutive weeks in the paper of general circulation giving notice to all parties interested in, affected by, or being aggrieved by said proposed enlargement of the municipal boundaries to present their objection to the proposed enlargement of the municipal boundaries at the hearing, to be held no less than 30 days after the first publication.
4. Of course, the Notice will set forth that there will need to be a hearing on the Petition and anyone with an objection to the proposed annexation will be afforded an opportunity to object to the expansion of the municipal boundaries. If the Chancellor finds after the hearing that the annexation is necessitated by public convenience and necessity, then at that point he will enter a Decree which approves, ratifies and confirms the proposed enlargement and describes the boundaries of the municipality as altered by the annexation. In entering this Decree, the Chancellor has the right and the power to modify the proposed enlargement of the municipal boundaries.
5. If the Decree of the Chancery Court approves the annexation, then the annexation becomes effective after the passage of ten (10) days of the entry of the Decree. However, if an appeal is taken within those 10 days, then the annexation becomes effective within ten (10) days after the final determination of the appeal is made (i.e. when the appellate court affirms).
6. If no objection is made to the Petition for the expansion of the municipal boundaries, the municipality shall be taxed with all costs of the proceedings. In the event an objection is made to the proceedings, such costs may be taxed in the manner the Chancellor may determine equitable as set forth in the Rules of Civil Procedure.
7. If the municipality or any other interested person who was a party to the proceedings in Chancery Court be aggrieved by the Chancery Court’s Decree, then the City or the objecting person may prosecute an appeal within the time set forth above.
8. When the corporate limits of the municipality shall be enlarged or contracted by the entry of a Decree from the Chancery Court, after ten days from the date of the Decree’s entry, if no appeal has been taken, the City shall forward to the Secretary of State a certified copy of the Decree which shall be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and shall remain a permanent record of the expansion.
9. After the annexation is over, the municipal authorities shall furnish to the Chancery Clerk a map or plat of the boundaries of the municipality as altered by the annexation. The map or plat shall be recorded in the official plat book of the County upon its submission.
10. The City will next need to deliver to the Mississippi State Tax Commission and certified copy of the Final Decree along with a land use map of the annexed area and a listing of those businesses annexed will facilitate the process of diverting the City’s due sales taxes.
11. The City should also send a certified copy of the Annexation Decree along with a map to the Public Service Commission and to the Secretary of State.
12. The City should also send a copy of the annexation documents to the Mississippi Rating Bureau so they can write a letter to the insurance agents extending the fire rating to the insured properties that were annexed. Specifically, the Rating Bureau will need a certified copy of the Court’s Final Decree and a map showing the old and new boundaries of the City.
13. As well, the City should send a copy of the map of the revised municipal boundaries along with the Final Decree approving the annexation to the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
14. The City should also notify all the companies which pay franchise fees or “fees in lieu of taxes” so that they can adjust the fees paid to the City in accordance with the new municipal boundary.
15. The City should also send to the County Tax Assessor, the Tax Collector, and the Circuit Clerk, as well as the Sheriff’s Department and the E-911 Board and other emergency service providers that may be affected by the annexation the date upon which the annexation will become effective so that the municipal emergency calls may be properly routed.
16. After the annexation is completed, it is the mandatory duty of the Mayor and City Council to redistrict the municipality by ordinance, which ordinance may not be vetoed by the Mayor, within six (6) months after the official publication by the United States of the population of the municipality as enumerated in each decennial census and within six (6) months after the effective date of any expansion of the municipal boundaries.
17. The City must then prepare and adopt a zoning ordinance and the amendments to the official City zoning map extended to cover the annexed area. This map must be in conformance with and based on the City’s adopted comprehensive plan. Furthermore, the comprehensive plan must include, at a minimum, future land use plans, a transportation plan, and a community facilities plan.
18. Once the area is annexed, in the absence of special provisions to the contrary, all 8ordinances and contracts of a general character are simultaneously extended over and become operative in the added territory so that such territory becomes entitled to the same privileges and subject to the same burdens as that land within the original corporate limits.
19. In all cases where a municipality is created or the limits of an existing boundary are enlarged, under the provisions of this chapter, the property included within the municipal boundaries by such enlargement shall become liable to and subject to the municipal ad valorem taxation on the tax lien date next succeeding the effective date of the Decree creating or enlarging the municipality. However, when a municipality is created or the corporate limits extended after January 1 of any year it shall have, prior to July 1 of that year, the full right and power to assess said property and collect taxes for the current year to the same extent as if it had been created or the limits extended prior to January 1 of that year.
20.In the event an unincorporated area is annexed by the City under a contract with a private or other agency, the municipality shall annex the area subject to the contract for the remainder of the term of the contract but longer than five years.
21. Utility certificates granted by the Public Service Commission are not invalidated by the annexation. The holder of a certificate to operate utilities in the area to be annexed will continue to maintain the exclusive right to provide the service.
22. It should be noted that absent extremely unusual circumstances the boundaries of any public school system is not changed merely by annexation. In 1986 Section 37-7-611 of the Mississippi Code was repealed. When the Legislature repealed that Section, the school district boundaries were no longer eligible to be expanded merely because of an annexation.