PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Before the city of Pascagoula can double in size, it will have to argue its case in court. A Jackson County judge decide Monday that that will happen on June 4, 2012.
A lot of frustrated Jackson County residents emerged from the courthouse Monday ready for a long and hard battle to stop Pascagoula's annexation plan.
"Everyone can save a whole lot of time and a whole lot of money by leaving us alone in the county," one resident said.
During an initial hearing, the Jackson County judge decided the annexation process will move forward with a trial set for next year. Pascagoula's lawyer Chad Mask was pleased.
"The city is not going to just pack its bags; the city is committed to this matter," said Chad Mask, attorney for the city of Pascagoula. "There are people for it and there are people against it."
Pascagoula wants to take over 21 miles of unincorporated area, from Highway 611, near the Pascagoula city limits, to the Alabama state line. The city said the annexation will help boost residential and commercial development in the area. City leaders are also confident the plan will improve basic services for residents.
"Law enforcement, municipal code enforcement, parks and recreation, and a very significant thing is the improvement in the fire classification. That would mean lower homeowners insurance."
Many of the folks living in the county said they're not sold on this annexation plan and believe it will do more harm than good.
"They are going to put more taxes on us and not have anything to offer us," one county resident said.
"I don't think the city of Pascagoula can afford this, I don't think it will be self funding in any way. I think it is a revenue grab on behalf of the city," another resident said.
These folks can't vote to stop the annexation process, but they said they will continue to let their voices be heard from now until the trial.
"We are county folks; we don't want to be city folks."
The trial date has been set for June 4, 2012. Lawyers for Moss Point, BP, Jackson County, the fire district and utility authority were all in court Monday. While some are filing petitions against the annexation, others just want to be kept in the loop.