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In re Enlargement and Extension of Municipal Boundaries of Town of Terry

Supreme Court of Mississippi

April 6, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF THE ENLARGEMENT AND EXTENSION OF THE MUNICIPAL BOUNDARIES OF THE TOWN OF TERRY, MISSISSIPPI: GREG WILSON, DAVID McGUFFEE, JOYCE WALLACE, KEVIN BRYANT AND ARTHUR HARVEY
v.
TOWN OF TERRY, MISSISSIPPI

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/22/2015

         HINDS COUNTY CHANCERY COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. J. DEWAYNE THOMAS

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: JOHN PRESTON SCANLON JERRY L. MILLS.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: RAJITA IYER MOSS.

          BEFORE RANDOLPH, P.J., KING AND BEAM, JJ.

          RANDOLPH, PRESIDING JUSTICE.

         ¶1. The Town of Terry sought to annex five territories adjacent to the existing Town-Territory 1 to the north, Territory 2 to the west, Territory 3 to the east, Territory 4 to the northeast, and Territory 5 to the south. The Chancery Court of Hinds County determined such an extensive annexation was unreasonable. However, the chancellor partially granted the Town's annexation request, finding their request for Territories 2 and 3 was reasonable. Some of the objectors appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. In May 2012, the Town of Terry passed an annexation ordinance seeking to enlarge its corporate boundaries by adding five tracts of land outside the Town in unincorporated Hinds County. As a result, the Town filed a petition with the Hinds County Chancery Court seeking approval, ratification, and confirmation of the proposed annexation. The Town served the cities of Byram and Florence with process and published notice in The Clarion-Ledger.

         ¶3. Neither city filed objections or answers to the Town's petition. Five objectors-Greg Wilson, David McGuffee, Joyce Wallace, Kevin Bryant, and Arthur Harvey[1]-answered and objected to the petition through joint counsel. Following a trial, the chancellor granted the Town's petition in part. The chancellor found the annexation of Territories 1, 4, and 5 to be unreasonable due to the Town's inability to bear the financial burden of such a large-scale annexation, coupled with its lack of planning regarding the expansion of municipal services into all five proposed areas. However, following an analysis of the twelve indicia of reasonableness, the chancellor found a limited annexation of Territories 2 and 3 was reasonable. The Objectors appealed.[2]

         ISSUE

         ¶4. The sole issue on appeal is whether the chancellor's partial grant of the Town's annexation petition was reasonable and supported by substantial, credible evidence.

         ANALYSIS

         ¶5. "The role of the judiciary in annexations is limited to one question: whether the annexation is reasonable."[3]Enlargement and Extension of Mun. Boundaries of City ofMadison v. City of Madison, 650 So.2d 490, 494 (Miss. 1995). This Court will not reverse a chancellor's finding of reasonableness unless that finding is manifestly wrong and/or not supported by substantial and credible evidence. Extension of Boundaries of City of Tupelov. City of Tupelo, ...


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