Some Orange Grove Residents Still Bitter Over Annexation

Eight years ago, Orange Grove officially became part of Gulfport, but time has not healed the wounds of some residents opposed to the annexation.

Many feel they're being burdened by Gulfport's infrastructure and debt problems and even refer to the area as "Occupied Orange Grove."

Residents say the heated debate at Monday night's town meeting is a perfect example of the problem in city leadership.

Many residents of Orange Grove say they can't even describe how fed up they are with Gulfport's leadership.

"Orange Grove is Orange Grove. It's separate from Gulfport. Gulfport's a pretty big city. I think Orange Grove should be separate than Gulfport," Orange Grove resident Lindsey Keen said.

Barbara Nalley has a water meter submerged in water. She says it is impossible to properly read. She feels the chaos of Monday's town meeting is a good example of Gulfport's poor leadership.

"They really don't have a good concept of what they are doing. The council doesn't know what the mayor has in mind, mayor doesn't know what the council is doing," Nalley said.

Three city council members did not come to the meeting.

"I think that the meeting last night was something that all the council members should have been at because they're going to take a vote on this next Tuesday and if you don't attend you're uninformed," Nalley said.

"We feel we haven't had any services up here, a disservice would be more like it," Rodney McInnis said.

These citizens have a message to other communities facing annexation or incorporation, all say to incorporate.

"I would suggest that they try to form their own community, which we tried to do here in Orange Grove without success," Nalley said.

"They're not giving us anything. We're paying more in taxes and getting nothing more for it," said one Orange Grove resident.

"We seem to do better when we were by ourselves now that we have to fund everything else, everybody's money is everybody's money now, we don't have anything," Virginia Varnado said.

Gulfport's city council plans to discuss Orange Grove's water problems at their next meeting on July 2.

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