This map from 2008 shows the ambitious incorporation attempt.
This map from 2008 shows the ambitious incorporation attempt.
A Gluckstadt incorporation effort is once again in the works, with community members appointing an initial mayor and board of aldermen Tuesday night.

Walter Morrison IV has lived in Gluckstadt for nearly 17 years and was chosen as initial mayor in accordance with necessary incorporation procedures. Aldermen-at-large are: Kristen Hunt, Robert Aaron Lacey, Jayce Powell, Stephen Snell and Miya Warfield.

Appointment of officers is required for the petition and elections would occur in accordance with regularly-scheduled municipal elections following a successful incorporation.

"The people who make up the board are all people who agreed to serve in whatever capacity," Morrison said. "It's been a community grassroots type of things."

Morrison said they held a meeting Tuesday night and the general consensus on a timeline to present a petition to the Chancery Court is six months.

"I know there have been several efforts to get this done," he said. "It is something that's certainly exciting, but it's an arduous process."

Morrison said lawyers are drawing up petitions that will be circulated around the community.

From there, proponents must gather two-thirds of registered voters residing within the boundaries. The petition is then filed in chancery court where a chancellor would look at specific criteria.

The area of incorporation includes subdivisions like Bear Creek Crossing, Arrington, Panther Creek, Ridgefield, Kemper Creek, Red Oak, Belle Terre and Bradshaw Ridge.

Subdivisions not included are Deerfield, Harvey Crossing, and Bainbridge, to name a few.
Powell said he was against an annexation attempt years ago, but has since changed his position.

"When I first moved to Gluckstadt I wanted to be in the county to a certain extent," he said. "Back in 2007-2008, I voiced a bunch of opposition to (incorporation)."

Now, Powell sees incorporation as an important step for a number of reasons, from safety to heritage.

He said motorists speeding is a major concern, as well as roads that haven's been maintained by the county. Both, he says, could be addressed easier within a city.

According to the group's website, the area is 11.1 square miles with an estimated population of 2,605. There are 931 dwelling units and an assessed value nearly $53 million.

Citizens have attempted to incorporate the area many times over the years, with the last one beginning in 2008.

One of the big hurdles is that incorporation adds on extra taxes because the city would be providing new services, such as fire and police. But, on the flip side, a city would have more control over street repairs and planning and zoning guidelines.

In 2010, as the incorporation effort continued, it was estimated that the city would need to generate 10-12 mills to operate. The cost for a $100,000 home at this millage rate was approximately $120 per year in additional taxes. Taxes would also be paid on license plates.

Even if there is a concerted effort by citizens to incorporate, nearby Madison and Canton could object to the procedure and a court battle would ensue.

Incorporation was also discussed in the late-1990s, but never came to fruition.

Gluckstadt began as a community of German farmers on June17, 1905, when Henry Klaas, John Kehle, Valentine Fitsch, Peter Schmidt and Joseph Weilandt, German descendants from Klaasville, Ind., purchased farmland from the Highland Colony Company at Calhoun, Miss., eventually changing the name to Gluckstadt, or "lucky city."

The group has a website, www.gluckstadt.net, with more about the procedure and impact on local residents.

"Why incorporate?" the site asks. "Incorporation allows the residents of Gluckstadt to control their own destiny," it says. "In more definitive terms, this means the voters determine which services would be provided to the community by the newly created city.

The site says those services may include:

• Enhanced police and fire protection

• Street lighting

• Planning and zoning

• Animal and pest control

• Street and right of way maintenance

• Code enforcement and building inspections

• Right to vote in city elections

• Other services as determined by the citizens