2007 Regular Session
To: Municipalities; County Affairs
By: Representative Horne
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 21-1-27, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THAT AN ELECTION BE HELD IN ANY PART OF A COUNTY WHICH IS THE SUBJECT OF AN ANNEXATION OR REMOVAL ORDINANCE; TO REPEAL SECTION 21-1-29, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH REQUIRES AN ENLARGEMENT OR CONTRACTION PETITION TO BE FILED IN CHANCERY COURT; TO AMEND SECTION 21-1-31, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES TO PAY ATTORNEY'S FEES AND ALL COSTS OF COURT WHEN APPEALING THE ELECTION RESULTS; TO AMEND SECTION 21-1-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE CHANCELLOR MAY CONSIDER ELECTION RESULTS AS EVIDENCE; TO AMEND SECTIONS 21-1-35 AND 21-1-43, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM THERETO; 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 * * * provided in this chapter. 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 such 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 such improvements, and the approximate time within which the improvements are to be made; the ordinance shall also 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 * * *.
(2) After the passage of the ordinance, the board of supervisors of the county or counties in which the territory proposed to be annexed or removed is located shall hold an election in the territory on the question of the proposed annexation or removal. Only those persons residing in the area to be annexed or removed shall be allowed to vote in the election. The election shall be held within sixty (60) days after passage of the ordinance. Notice of the election shall be published in a newspaper having a general circulation in the territory proposed to be annexed or removed once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks before the election date, and the first publication shall be made not less than twenty-one (21) days before the election date. The election shall be held in the same manner as are other county elections. The results of the election shall be certified by the election commissioners of the county and shall be considered as the final decision on the issue of annexation or removal unless the governing authorities of such municipality appeal the election decision to the chancery court of the county in which such municipality is located.
SECTION 2. Section 21-1-29, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provides for an enlargement or contraction petition to be filed in chancery court, is repealed.
SECTION 3. Section 21-1-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-31. Upon appeal by the municipal authorities, to the chancery court, the chancellor shall fix a date certain, either in termtime or in vacation, when a hearing on the election results defeating the proposed enlargement or contraction will be held, and notice thereof 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 enlargement or contraction shall have the right to appear at such hearing and present their objection to such proposed enlargement or contraction. The municipal authorities shall be required to pay all attorney's fees and all costs involved in such a hearing.
SECTION 4. Section 21-1-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-33. If the chancellor finds from the evidence, including, but not limited to, the results of any election held under Section 21-1-27, presented at the 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 shall be rendered in the annexed territory within a reasonable time, the chancellor may enter a decree approving, ratifying and confirming the proposed enlargement or 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 enlargement or contraction by decreasing the territory to be included in or excluded from the municipality, as the case may be. If the chancellor finds 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 or she shall enter a decree denying the enlargement or contraction. In any event, the decree of the chancellor shall become effective after the passage of ten (10) days from the date thereof or, in event 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 enlargement or contraction is reasonable.
SECTION 5. Section 21-1-35, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-35. * * * In the event of an appeal from the judgment of the chancellor, the costs incurred in the appeal shall be taxed against the appellant if the judgment be affirmed, and against the appellee if the judgment be reversed.
SECTION 6. Section 21-1-43, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
21-1-43. Any two (2) or more cities or towns being adjacent or situated sufficiently near to each other may combine into and become one (1) municipality in the same manner as is provided for the enlargement or contraction of municipal boundaries. It shall be necessary for the governing authorities of each municipality to adopt the ordinance with regard to the consolidation and an election held in the same manner as is provided in Section 21-1-27 with regard to the enlargement or contraction of municipal boundaries. * * * The ordinance * * * shall state the name that shall be given to the municipality to be formed. In the event of the consolidation of two (2) or more municipalities into one (1) as * * * provided in this section, the decree of the chancellor shall correctly classify the municipality so formed in accordance with the facts, based upon the total population of all of such municipalities as shown by the latest available federal census. When the consolidation shall have become final and operative, all of the municipalities shall be merged into one (1) under the name set forth in the ordinances adopted by the governing authorities of the municipalities so consolidated. The governing authorities of all the municipalities so consolidated shall become members of the governing authority of the municipality so formed until the next regular election, when the proper number of members of the governing authority shall be elected as provided by law, and the mayor or chief executive officer of the largest municipality, according to population, shall become the mayor or chief executive officer of the municipality so formed. The assessments and levies for ad valorem taxation in force at the time of the consolidation of the municipalities for the territory of each municipality shall be the assessment and levy upon which taxes shall be collected for the then current fiscal year, but in all other respects the existing laws and ordinances of the largest municipality, according to population, shall be operative throughout the enlarged limits.
Nothing in this section shall authorize the combination of two (2) or more villages unless those villages shall have a combined population of five hundred (500) or more, according to the latest available federal census.
SECTION 7. Any action on an ordinance proposing the enlargement or contraction 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 8. 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 9. 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.