- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - A judge has approved the annexation of 1,462 more residents into Columbus, bringing 3 square miles of territory and 5 miles of roads into the city.

The Commercial Dispatch (https://bit.ly/Z9iBhm) reports Chancery Court Judge Kenneth Burns approved the plan Friday.

Based on 2010 U.S. Census data, the city’s population will grow from 23,640 to 25,102.

Municipal services to the new city areas will begin immediately, Chief Operations Officer David Armstrong said.

He said the city will start redrawing ward lines after a 10-day period for any annexation opponents to appeal.

The city must complete redistricting within a year and extend water and sewer infrastructure into the areas within five years.

The annexation brings four areas of the county into the city. The four areas include most of the east side of Lehmberg Road and a short distance north on Highway 12, the Riverwalk to the west of downtown, a piece of Woodland Heights Drive to the north and the area around Columbus Middle School.

Columbus projects it will spend $187,742 to provide municipal services to the new areas. A 2010 estimate shows the city will collect $277,859 in revenue.

It could cost the city as much as $6.6 million to provide water and sewer services to the areas.

Columbus Light and Water General Manager Todd Gale said financing would have to be implemented in its five-year capital improvements plan, the first of which begins with the upcoming fiscal year that begins next month.

“We’ll go back to that five-year plan the board approved and work that in,” Gale said. “We need to do a little bit more due diligence on our side as far as what fire protection is in those areas and if it’s required to beef it up.”

The $6.6 million estimate, however, is a worst case scenario, Gale added. The extension could cost significantly less.


Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, https://www.cdispatch.com

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