Biloxi agrees to end annexation bid with stipulations - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi agrees to end annexation bid with stipulations

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

The president of the Gulfport City Council said he's not sure Gulfport can make concessions Biloxi wants in order to end a long annexation fight. A few weeks ago, Gulfport offered to stand down from trying to annex land in the Woolmarket area of Highway 605, but only if Biloxi would agree to withdraw its request. On Wednesday, Biloxi leaders said they would agree, but with some stipulations.

The battle is over 7.6 square miles of land that Biloxi is seeking to annex. Inside that area are two square miles Gulfport has petitioned to annex. Biloxi leaders said several attempts have been made to resolve the cities' annexation dispute out of court. All have failed.

Biloxi Council Member Clark Griffith said at one point Biloxi made Gulfport an offer.

"If we're both going to do this, let's put them together. Gulfport said, 'No, we don't want to do that.' Okay, so we said is there any way maybe we could stand down because we were both having budget problems? The answer kept coming back to us was 'No. No, we can't do that.'" 

Before Biloxi will bow out, leaders said Gulfport and Harrison County must withdraw objections to Biloxi attempt to annex land in the unincorporated area the owned by Pitcher Point Development. Also Biloxi wants Gulfport to agree not to try to extend east of the Biloxi River for some time to come.

Griffith said, "We're basically saying yes, we will do that, but we don't want to see this again. So in writing, in some type of legal documentation that says Gulfport is not going to try this again in 15 years."

Biloxi leaders said there's a reason they want any agreement to be made in writing.

"There's rules that say we're not bound by what previous councils did or previous mayors did. We don't want to hear that stuff," Griffith said. "This needs to be binding and in written documentation or we're not going to back off. We're going to press forward."

Harrison County supervisor Connie Rockco said she couldn't discuss the Biloxi's offer until talking it over the Board of Supervisors and attorneys, but she's hopeful a deal can be reached. 

Rockco said, "I think that's wonderful that there is dialogue and I am in high hopes that the three of us, the county and the two cities can come together with some type of agreement."

Gulfport Council President Ricky Dombrowski said a council cannot bind the next council for more than four years let alone for 15 years. Dombrowski said while the Gulfport council will have to take up Biloxi's resolution. In earlier discussions in Gulfport council members said they did not want any conditions.

Read the measure the Biloxi City Council passed Wednesday regarding the pending annexation case: http://www.biloxi.ms.us/pdf/010213CEXC.pdf

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