Biloxi rejects reduced annexation proposal

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi City Council shot down an attempt to reduce the size of its annexation proposal. On Tuesday afternoon, five councilmen voted against a plan that would have expanded the city's borders by six square miles instead of the 14 square miles originally requested. The vote means Biloxi and D'Iberville will continue to butt heads over the same land near Highway 15 and Highway 67.

The Biloxi council president is Bill Stallworth. "If there was a true compromise, the vote could have turned out differently," he said. "But since there was no compromise, we felt it was in the best interest of the city to continue forward with the case."

Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway recommended the smaller annexation idea. He was rather miffed that the council chose a court case against D'Iberville over a plan that could benefit both cities. "I think that council made a mistake today by not adopting that amendment to the annexation," the mayor said.

Before Biloxi ever gets permission to grow again, Karen Mabou wants the city to provide water and sewer services to John Lee Road, and the rest of Woolmarket, an area Biloxi annexed almost a decade ago. "Come on, let's get it done," the Biloxian said.

Mabou understands why Biloxi wants to expand its borders again. "It's such a historic, growing, vital area," she said. She just wants city services connected to her home before new annexation efforts take the city's focus away from Woolmarket.

Councilman David Fayard has been assured they will be. "I can support it because it's the lesser of two evils," he said. Fayard never liked Biloxi's plan to annex 14 square miles, because when it was first mentioned, his Woolmarket community still hadn't received city services. Now that lift stations for new sewer lines are finally being designed, Fayard thinks Biloxi is ready for a limited expansion.

Fayard and Tom Wall were the only councilmen to vote for the reduced size of Biloxi's annexation request. "I feel it's more reasonable than what we asked for previously," Fayard said.

The other five councilmen disagreed. "I think it's just in our best interests that we move forward with the case that we have in hand," said Stallworth.

So does the city of D'Ibeville. It's city manager is Richard Rose. When he heard about the Biloxi vote, he said he was disappointed Biloxi councilmen didn't listen to their mayor's advice. Rose says D'Iberville is more than willing to listen to any equitable compromise that Biloxi is willing to offer. But if a deal can't be worked out, he says D'Iberville will be ready for the March 24 annexation trial.