CATEGORY: Alcorn County

AUTHOR: SUMMER

Farmington incorporation, Glen annexation collide in court

By Jane Clark Summers

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH - Efforts to incorporate the Farmington community are proceeding again through legal channels in Alcorn County Chancery Court, where opposition is being mounted by the city of Corinth and the town of Glen.

Farmington's nearest neighbor, Glen, filed objections to the incorporation based on plans to expand its own town limits. However, Glen's attorney, Greg Keenum, admitted the legal notice of the proposed annex area may have to be republished because of possible errors in the description of boundaries.

The potential problem was brought to light by attorney James E. Price, who represents Chips Inc., a wood chip mill located just east of Glen's current town limits. Price said his client has a number of objections to Glen's annexation.

Charles Wilbanks, attorney for Farmington, argued Friday before Chancery Judge Charles Thomas that Glen's petition to annex is frivolous and should be thrown out.

Friday was the return date for opponents of Farmington's incorporation and Glen's annexation to file notice of objection. No hearing date or trial date for either was set Friday, but a date will be announced later, Judge Thomas said.

In objecting to Farmington's incorporation of territory targeted for Glen's expansion, the town claims it will provide three different services for the residents in the annex area: Glen water rates, fire protection and police protection.

Farmington's attorney told the judge Glen does not have a water department but receives water from the Alcorn County Water System. Since the Farmington Water Association furnishes water for the territory in dispute, there is no way that Glen can ever furnish water or fire protection for this area, Wilbanks said. As for police protection, Wilbanks said Glen has two old, beat-up patrol cars given to the town by the city of Corinth.

Outlining figures for the assessed valuation of Glen's current town limits, Wilbanks said the town would not have enough money to fund a full-time police department or provide other services even if the board of aldermen levied the maximum millage rate.

Wilbanks, who did the legal work for Glen's incorporation about three years ago, said the community incorporated to cut off the "liquor dipper," a slang term given to a long, narrow corridor expansion proposed by the city of Corinth. That annexation, which was later abandoned, would have taken Corinth's city limits to within five miles of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and within legal authority to have a city-only vote on legalized liquor sales.

The city of Corinth is objecting to Glen's annexation plans and Farmington's attempts to incorporate. City attorney Bill Odom said the city will present its objections when the matter finally comes to court.

This is the second go-round in court this year for Farmington incorporators. A second petition drive and legal description was published after several discrepancies were pointed out during an earlier court date on the initial incorporation attempt.

Although organizers have denied that the incorporation effort is aimed at thwarting future annexation moves by the city of Corinth, many proponents have stated publicly that that is a major reason for incorporating.

Farmington residents aggressively fought Corinth's annexation, which was ultimately scaled back and approved last year, taking in a portion of the Farmington community. The two communities join at the eastern edge of Corinth.

If incorporated, Farmington would become the fifth municipality in Alcorn County with the second largest population behind Corinth. The population of the 10.5 to 11 square mile area targeted for incorporation totals 2,104. The 1990 census reported the population of Corinth at 11,820. According to the census, Rienzi has 245 residents and Kossuth has 339. Glen, the fourth municipality in the county, has an estimated 250 residents and lies east of Farmington on the edge of Tishomingo County.

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