Pascagoula's annexation plan sparks debate

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - By Patrice Clark – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – The City of Pascagoula wants to double its size. City leaders are now working to annex 21 squares miles of unincorporated Jackson County to the Alabama state line.

The annexation plan is a hot topic in Jackson County, and some folks aren't thrilled about the possible takeover.

"They need to maintain their own thing and leave us alone," county resident Elmer Headrick said.

"I know it's good for taxes, but there are no natural states left and I would like to see some remaining," county resident Dawn Gadel said.

The 21 miles Pascagoula wants to annex starts at its city limits, stretches down Highway 90, and ends at Interstate 10 near the Franklin Creek Road exit. The city will have to provide water and sewer, as well as fire and police protection to 1,700 residents and about 40 businesses.

Allen Adam's Gulf Coast Gator Ranch sits in the targeted area.

"If it's going to raise the taxes, then I am definitely not for it, because we are paying too much taxes as it is," Adam said.

"Whenever you do something like this, you know there is going to be heat. But you have to stay in the kitchen and keeping cooking," City Councilman Frank Corder said.

Councilman Corder said the annexation will be a recipe for success in the unincorporated area. He said 73 percent of the area is wetlands, which the city hopes to turn into a prime economic development spot.

"We feel like we are in a very good financial position in the city to do this and our citizens are ready for a path growth."

Corder said the city still has to draft an ordinance, turn it into a chancery court judge, and wait for a ruling before moving forward with the takeover.

Citizens don't vote on this issue, but they can petition the plan to state and local leaders. Some are considering doing just that.

"I think it should be left up to citizens to decide if that's what they want or they don't want," resident Tim Parker said.

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