Gulfport offers to drop annexation fight if Biloxi will - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport offers to drop annexation fight if Biloxi will

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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

There is a call for a truce in the long and expensive annexation battle between Gulfport and Biloxi. Both cities want some land along Highway 605 in the Woolmarket area. Now, Gulfport officials want things to cool off for a while, but what is Biloxi's response to that idea?

Gulfport wants to annex two square miles. The problem is the area is within the 7.6 square miles that Biloxi wants to annex. So the two cities have been in a legal fight over annexation for several years. Gulfport officials said both cities are racking up big bills because of it.

"Gulfport is very fortunate in that we have staff attorneys who we pay on staff to handle most of our lawsuits," said Rusty Walker, council member. "But we do pay professionals especially expert witnesses."

So the Gulfport council decided to make Biloxi an offer. If Biloxi drops its annexation plans Gulfport will too.

Gulfport Council Member Ricky Dombrowski said, "We just don't want to fight a battle that right now we really can't afford either one of us as far as cost wise to the cities. We're looking at a lot of money that the cities are going to have to put out. And right now with these economic times we think it's in the best interest of the cities and the county to back off and take these things out of court."

After the Gulfport council meeting, WLOX contacted the Biloxi administration for a response to Gulfport's request. Biloxi Spokesperson Vincent Creel said, "Both D'Iberville and Gulfport have threatened Biloxi's path of growth in recent years. Biloxi was forced to defend itself in both cases, and to walk away now would only leave the door open to future threats."

Walker said, "We'd love for them to see the merit of our argument that says 'Hey look you really can't provide the services there. We can't provide the services there right now. Let's just go home and fight another day.'"

"But should they continue then Gulfport will be forced to aggressively defend itself," said Walker.

Gulfport council members said they hope the Biloxi leaders will discuss the offer and get back to them with a response soon. Gulfport officials said they plan to hand deliver formal requests to drop annexation to the Biloxi's mayor, city council and city's attorneys. 

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