Public reaction to possible annexation of Columbus and parts of Lowndes County

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Michael Lewis is the founder of the Lowndes County Residents Against Annexation organization.

He attended the town hall meeting at the Trotter Convention Center Thursday night to educate the public on the impacts of annexing two areas of Lowndes County close to the city of Columbus’ eastern and southern borders.

“With everything going on behind closed doors, I really wanted to get out here, get signatures, get to talking to people, and let everybody know what’s going on,” said Lewis.

Lewis says the change will affect more than people’s pockets, “It increases your property tax and takes away a little bit of your liberties.”

He elaborates. “I have a shooting range, can’t do it in the city limits. Can’t have family bonfires after dark without a permit.”

Over a dozen people asked questions.

One woman took the and said directly to Columbus Mayor Keith Gaskin, “We grew up hunting, fishing, riding four-wheelers, having bonfires, letting our kids ride in the yard and stuff like that. Y’all are wanting to take all of that away for stuff that we have worked so hard for our whole lives. If we wanted to live in the city, we would have bought in the city.”

For Lewis, the residents voicing their opinions face-to-face with city leaders just means more. “Facebook, I mean you can just scroll on by what people say but here, you really gotta listen to ’em especially if you’re affected,” said Lewis.

City leaders have to go back to the drawing board for redistricting and zoning before the annexation process can move forward.

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