2003 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Farris
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 21-1-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE HEARING PROCEDURE FOR THE PETITION FOR ANNEXATION OR DEANNEXATION IN CHANCERY COURT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 21-1-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-33. (1) A bifurcated hearing shall be held before the chancellor. The municipality seeking to annex must show by a preponderance of evidence that it adequately provides all municipal services to all areas within municipal limits at the time of the filing of the petition and that there exist valid reasons for annexation other than for a mere tax base increase. If the municipality meets this burden of proof, the trial may proceed to the second stage.
(2) If the chancellor finds from the evidence presented at such hearing that the proposed enlargement or contraction is reasonable and is required by the public convenience and necessity and, in the event of an enlargement of a municipality, that reasonable public and municipal services will be rendered in the annexed territory within a reasonable time, the chancellor shall enter a decree approving, ratifying and confirming the proposed enlargement or contraction, and describing the boundaries of the municipality as altered. The chancellor's order shall further set out with specificity a timetable for the city to accomplish what it claims it can accomplish for the newly annexed area. If at the end of the period set out in the order the protestors can show by a preponderance of the evidence that the city has not provided the promised services, then the chancellor must set the annexation aside. If the protestors fail, the chancellor shall confirm the annexation.
(3) * * * The chancellor shall have the right and the power to modify the proposed enlargement or contraction by decreasing the territory to be included in or excluded from such municipality, as the case may be.
(4) If the chancellor shall find from the evidence that the proposed enlargement or contraction, as the case may be, is unreasonable and is not required by the public convenience and necessity, then he shall enter a decree denying such enlargement or contraction.
(5) * * * The decree of the chancellor shall become effective only upon the chancellor's confirmation or, in event an appeal is taken therefrom, within ten (10) days from the final determination of such appeal. In any proceeding under this section the burden shall be upon the municipal authorities to show that the proposed enlargement or contraction is reasonable.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2003.