The Bay St. Louis City Council gave final approval to its annexation plan this week. The next step is for a judge to sign off on it.
The city wants to expand its boundaries along Highway 603 to Interstate 10, doubling the population. That would also mean nearly doubling the size of the public works department to 50 employees in the first two years after annexation.
"They're undertaking a lot of streets, local streets out there that will need attention," said Mike Slaughter, the Annexation Consultant working with the city.
To maintain miles and miles of new streets, the public works department will also need more tractors and other heavy equipment. The city would also add 550 new street lights in the annexed areas. Sixty-nine of those would be on Highway 603.
A green light for annexation would also mean the city would have to build a new fire station, buy more fire trucks, and hire nine firefighters. The police department would also need four more officers and patrol cars.
"It's not done by me sitting in my office in Oxford and telling the Bay St. Louis Police Department what they need. It's much deeper than that. We actually meet one on one with each department head and analyze what condition they are currently in and what would be necessary," Slaughter said.
Bay St. Louis city leaders say they know some people don't like the idea of becoming part of a city, but promise annexation will mean positive growth.
The city of Waveland is also trying to annex some of the same area along Highway 603. A trial is scheduled for later this month to determine if either city gets to annex the area.
If the Bay is successful, it will cost about $2 million over two years to hire new employees and buy equipment. Mayor Eddie Favre says the city can pay for that and still have more than $200,000 left in cash reserves.
by Al Showers
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