Lamar County, Miss. (WHLT) — Lawmakers in Mississippi are finding ways to continue to grow the development of the state. We spoke to residents of a Lamar County community that filed to become a city and why some don’t agree.
“I know Gluckstadt is in the process of trying to incorporate. I think that’s a positive thing that people there have made the decision that they want to govern themselves,” said proposed Mayor of Bellevue John Adcock.
And they aren’t the only community in the state trying to localize government. Bellevue, which lies on the outskirts of Hattiesburg, surpassed the needed signatures and filed to become a new city in Mississippi.
“So what we’re really trying to do is not create more government we’re just trying to keep the control of the government in the hands of the people who actually live here. We’re trying to keep it more local.”
But becoming a city leaves some residents concerned.
“Lamar County is under no obligation to continue our garbage service, to continue our police service, or even to continue the ambulance,” expressed resident Bettie Arnold. “The city of Bellevue would have to renegotiate those contracts.”
Arnold tells us that even though they might not receive county services once becoming a city, they will still be required to pay county taxes as well as city taxes being an additional cost.
“It will be an issue for those who live on a fixed income. The best I can figure out for myself is that it will be at least a thousand dollars a year on property tax,” she said. “And when I ask leaders what those who will not be able to afford the cost do, I am told they can just sell their property and move.”
Adcock told us that Bellevue has the potential to have great growth and great commercial property.
“Those things are happening one way or another.”
In the beginning, Bellevue filed to become a city in order to stop Hattiesburg’s annexation plans which could take revenue and commercial sales tax along Highway 98 west; possibly taking money that could flow into the hands of those in Bellevue.
“I just don’t think we have to become a city in order for Lamar County to grow,” said Arnold.
The Concerned Citizens of Bellevue, a non-profit organization, is holding a meeting for those wanting to express future challenges on June 1st at 35 Penny Lane in Hattiesburg. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.