Columbus City Council overrides mayor’s annexation veto

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Less than 24 hours after Columbus Mayor Keith Gaskin vetoed the ordinance to begin the annexation process, the Columbus City Council called a special meeting and overrode that veto.

Council members called for the special meeting within hours after Gaskin’s veto was made public.

The ordinance, which would bring two parcels of county land on the east and southeastern borders of the city, passed at last week’s regular council meeting on a four to two vote.

Citizens showed up to today’s meeting to address the council but were denied a chance to speak.

Critics of the move, including council members, residents from the proposed annexation area, and residents who were brought into the city in its last annexation 10 years ago said the move doesn’t make financial sense, pointing out that providing services will cost the city more than it will recoup in additional tax revenue, and that taxes for new residents will increase significantly.

Council members backing the move said they’re trying to help the people in the area, and the city needs to grow its population.

“We’re trying to put everybody on a level playing field. Is taxes going up on some? Yeah! It’s going to go up, but at least people won’t be living like they living out there now, with sewage backing up their front yard. That the supervisors should’ve taken care of,” said Vice Mayor Joseph Mickens.

“When the city annexed those areas in 2014, I believe, they went, they sat in front of judges and assured them and the citizens that they would get appropriate resources, that the city would supply them when you annex in an area. And, that did not happen,” said Mayor Keith Gaskin.

“This is going to raise everybody’s property taxes. If you’re in the city or you’re in the county. It’s going to raise your taxes. It’s going to prevent future business from coming because it’s going to decrease the median income for the city. It’s going to decrease the extra spending money the city has, and it’s going to hurt the city. It’s going to hurt the election season as well,” said Michael Lewis, Lowndes County Residents Against Annexation.

The city will file the ordinance with the Chancery Court.

Then, the city will advertise the annexation proposal in the papers, other public spaces, and the area to be annexed.

A Chancery Judge will then set a hearing date.

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Categories: Local News