TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) -- Tupelo's five-year effort to expand its borders by 16 square miles is upheld by the state Supreme Court.
Today's 53-page ruling means the properties become part of the city. In addition to being added to the city's tax rolls, it means about 2,000 residents will get fire and police protection first with other services coming later.
"It's been a long, hard fight...a long time coming," said attorney Martha Bost Stegall, who was one of several attorneys representing the city in the case.
"We look forward to welcoming our newest citizens. Tupelo is a great town. A strong county seat makes for a strong county," Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said.
Reed will hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. Friday to address questions about when the annexation might take effect and services be extended to the annexed areas as well as potential appeal possibilities.
The city approved the annexation plan in July 2007, but Lee County, Saltillo, Plantersville and several volunteer fire departments objected.
Two years ago, Lee County Chancery Court Judge Edward Prisock approved the annexation, minus one small area, after a lengthy trial.
Lee County, Saltillo and the fire districts appealed to the Supreme Court. Those groups have two weeks to ask the Supreme Court to rehear its decision. If the court denies, that request, the annexation would then take effect.
Stegall says if the county and cities appeal, it would be this fall sometime, at best, before the annexation takes effect. If they don't appeal, it would take effect within a month after a final mandate from the Supreme Court.
If the state's highest court does agree to reconsider its ruling, it could take months or more.
Click here to download and see the entire ruling:http://courts.ms.gov/Images/Opinions/CO77744.pdf