2007 Regular Session
To: Municipalities; Apportionment and Elections
By: Representative Ward
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 21-1-27, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR AN ELECTION ON THE QUESTION OF MUNICIPAL ANNEXATION IN BOTH THE MUNICIPALITY AND THE TERRITORY PROPOSED TO BE ANNEXED WHEN THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES OF A MUNICIPALITY DESIRE TO ENLARGE ITS BOUNDARIES; TO AMEND SECTIONS 21-1-29, 21-1-31, 21-1-33, 21-1-35, 21-1-37 AND 21-1-39, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REMOVE THE QUESTION OF MUNICIPAL ANNEXATION FROM CHANCERY COURT PROCEEDINGS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 21-1-27, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-27. (1) The limits and boundaries of existing cities, towns and villages shall remain as now established until altered in the manner hereinafter provided. When any municipality * * * desires to enlarge or contract its boundaries * * * by adding to its boundaries adjacent unincorporated territory or excluding from its boundaries any part of the incorporated territory of the municipality, the governing authorities of the municipality shall pass an ordinance defining with certainty the territory proposed to be included in or excluded from the corporate limits, and also defining the entire boundary as changed. If the municipality desires to enlarge its boundaries, the ordinance shall in general terms describe the proposed improvements to be made in the annexed territory, the manner and extent of the improvements, and the approximate time within which the improvements are to be made; the ordinance also shall * * * contain a statement of the municipal or public services that the municipality proposes to render in the annexed territory. If the municipality * * * desires to contract its boundaries, the ordinance shall contain a statement of the reasons for the contraction and a statement showing how the public convenience and necessity would be served by the contraction.
(2) If twenty percent (20%) of the qualified electors residing in the territory proposed to be annexed by a municipality petition the governing body of the municipality for an election on the question of the proposed annexation, within sixty (60) days after public notice of the adoption of the annexation ordinance, the appropriate election officials shall hold separate elections in the municipality and in the territory proposed to be annexed on the question of the proposed annexation. The elections shall be held within sixty (60) days after certification of the petition by the municipal clerk. Notice of the elections shall be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks before the election date in a newspaper having a general circulation in the county or counties in which the municipality and the territory proposed to be annexed are located. The first publication shall be made not less than twenty-one (21) days before the election date. The elections shall be held in the same manner as are other elections. The annexation shall not be permitted or approved unless both the electors in the municipality and in the territory proposed to be annexed approve the annexation by majority vote of those electors voting in the election. If fewer than a majority of the qualified electors voting in each election vote against the ordinance, the ordinance shall be approved. If a majority of the qualified electors voting in each election vote against the ordinance, the ordinance shall not be approved. If approved in the elections, the ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after the date of the final determination of the results of the elections or on a later date that is specified in the ordinance. If a petition for the elections is not filed, the ordinance shall become effective sixty (60) days after public notice of the adoption of the ordinance or on a later date that is specified in the ordinance. If the ordinance is not approved in the elections, the municipality shall not adopt another ordinance proposing the annexation of any of the same territory for a period of five (5) years from the date of the election.
SECTION 2. Section 21-1-29, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-29. When any * * * ordinance proposing to contract the municipal boundaries is passed by the municipal authorities, the municipal authorities shall file a petition in the chancery court of the county in which the municipality is located * * *. The petition shall recite the fact of the adoption of the ordinance and shall pray that the * * * contraction of the municipal boundaries * * * shall be ratified, approved and confirmed by the court. There shall be attached to the petition, as exhibits thereto, a certified copy of the ordinance adopted by the municipal authorities and a map or plat of the municipal boundaries as they will exist if the contraction becomes effective.
SECTION 3. Section 21-1-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-31. Upon the filing of the petition and upon application therefor by the petitioner, the chancellor shall fix a date certain, either in term time or in vacation, when a hearing on the petition will be held, and notice of the hearing shall be given in the same manner and for the same length of time as is provided in Section 21-1-15 with regard to the creation of municipal corporations, and all parties interested in, affected by, or being aggrieved by the proposed * * * contraction shall have the right to appear at the hearing and present their objection to the proposed * * * contraction. * * *
SECTION 4. Section 21-1-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-33. If the chancellor finds from the evidence presented at the hearing that the proposed * * * contraction is reasonable and is required by the public convenience and necessity * * *, the chancellor shall enter a decree approving, ratifying and confirming the proposed * * * contraction, and describing the boundaries of the municipality as altered. In so doing the chancellor shall have the right and the power to modify the proposed * * * contraction by decreasing the territory to be * * * excluded from the municipality * * *. If the chancellor * * * finds from the evidence that the proposed * * * contraction * * * is unreasonable and is not required by the public convenience and necessity, then he shall enter a decree denying the contraction. In any event, the decree of the chancellor shall become effective after the passage of ten (10) days from the date of the decree or, if an appeal is taken therefrom, within ten (10) days from the final determination of the appeal. In any proceeding under this section, the burden shall be upon the municipal authorities to show that the proposed * * * contraction is reasonable.
SECTION 5. Section 21-1-35, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-35. If no objection is made to the petition for the * * * contraction of the municipal boundaries, the municipality shall be taxed with all costs of the proceedings. If objection is made, the costs may be taxed in a manner as the chancellor * * * determines to be equitable under the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure. If there is an appeal from the judgment of the chancellor, the costs incurred in the appeal shall be taxed against the appellant if the judgment is affirmed, and against the appellee if the judgment is reversed.
SECTION 6. Section 21-1-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-37. If the municipality or any other interested person who was a party to the proceedings in the chancery court be aggrieved by the decree of the chancellor regarding contraction of the municipal boundaries, then the municipality or other person may prosecute an appeal therefrom within the time and in the manner and with like effect as is provided in Section 21-1-21 in the case of appeals from the decree of the chancellor with regard to the creation of a municipal corporation.
SECTION 7. Section 21-1-39, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-39. (1) Whenever the corporate limits of any municipality are contracted as herein provided, the chancery clerk shall, after the expiration of ten (10) days from the date of the decree if an appeal is not taken therefrom, forward to the Secretary of State a certified copy of the decree, which shall be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and shall remain a permanent record thereof. If an appeal is taken from the decree and the decree is affirmed, then the certified copy of the decree shall be forwarded to the Secretary of State within ten (10) days after receipt of the mandate from the Supreme Court notifying the clerk of the affirmance.
(2) Whenever the corporate limits of any municipality are enlarged as provided in Section 21-1-27, the governing body of the municipality, after the annexation ordinance has become effective, shall forward to the Secretary of State a certified copy of the ordinance, which shall be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and shall remain a permanent record of the office.
SECTION 8. Any action on an ordinance proposing the enlargement of municipal boundaries that is pending before a court on the effective date of this act as a result of any prior law shall be withdrawn, and an election as provided in Section 21-1-27 may be held.
SECTION 9. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 10. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.