Ruling sets Gluckstadt to become a city
Gluckstadt will finally incorporate after a two-decades-long, hard-fought battle involving an immeasurable amount of work, proponents said after a state Supreme Court ruling in their favor last week.
While a few technical legal steps remain, Gluckstadt’s incorporation is expected to be a done deal by mid-June after the high court ruled against a Canton challenge.
“There are still a few steps to go but for all practical purposes, it means they will be (able to proceed with incorporation),” said attorney Jerry Mills of the firm Pyle, Mills, Dye & Pittman who has worked on the case for 20 years. “There is still an opportunity for petition for rehearing.”
Mills said the decision was strong with all judges agreeing on the Gluckstadt incorporation portion.
“But with three of them dissenting on Canton getting anything,” Mills said. “It is extremely unlikely the petition for rehearing would be granted.”
Gluckstadt’s appointed Mayor Walter Morrison said he and others are excited about the decision.
“It is something the citizens of Gluckstadt have worked toward for 20 years,” Morrison said. “It has taken an immeasurable amount of work on the part of a lot of people who probably never thought this day would come. I am just as proud for them and thrilled for them as I can be.”
Morrison and five aldermen — Miya Warfield-Bates, John Taylor, Jayce Powell, Wesley Slay and Lisa Williams — were selected by a citizens committee headed up by Kerry Minninger and others some years back as part of the filing process for incorporation.
“It has been a long, hard-fought battle, and we feel like we are finally getting close to reaching that goal,” Minninger said. “The first thing that will happen is we will have the mayor and board of aldermen that will be sworn in and take their positions and I’m sure they will hold their first board meeting.”
Morrison said he hopes citizens will get involved in the city’s government.
‘I would love to see 500 people at the first meeting because I think this is what has motivated the citizens of Gluckstadt and that is to try to have local community involvement,” Morrison said. “The more the merrier. If everybody gets involved and that is the manner in which decisions are made in the long run it is going to be really good for the city.”
Mississippi Justice Dawn Beam wrote the 48-page decision upholding an earlier Madison County Chancery Court ruling.
“We find no merit to the claim that the chancery court was without jurisdiction to hear and decide the incorporation petition, and we affirm the chancery court’s grant of incorporation as set forth in the decree,” Beam wrote in the conclusion. “We find that the chancery court’s grant of annexation for Areas 1 and 2 and denial of annexation for Areas 3, 4, and 5 is without manifest error and is supported by substantial, credible evidence. Accordingly, we affirm the chancery court’s decree with regard to annexation.”
The appeal originated from two cases filed in the Chancery Court of Madison County.
“Petitioners from the community of Gluckstadt sought incorporation of approximately 10.8 square miles of incorporated territory in Madison County,” the decision states. “The City of Canton petitioned for annexation of approximately 6.7 square miles of unincorporated territory in Madison County, consisting of five proposed areas (Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). The chancery court entered a final decree, granting, in part, the Gluckstadt Incorporators’ petition. The decree granted Canton’s proposed annexation of Areas 1 and 2 but denied Canton’s proposed annexation of Areas 3, 4, and 5.”
A few more benchmarks must pass before Gluckstadt’s incorporation is officially official.
“The matter still has to wait 14 days for petition for rehearing,” Mills said. “It becomes official 10 days after mandate issues, which if they are denied petition for rehearing or if there is no petition for rehearing would mean that it is effective in 21 days. If there is a petition for rehearing, it would become effective once that was decided and the mandate issued.”