The Coahoma County Board of Supervisors will be appealing the Mississippi Supreme Court’s ruling issued earlier this month that would allow the city of Clarksdale to annex three areas currently in the county.
Back in 2011, the Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Commissioners, led by then-mayor Henry Espy, passed an ordinance that would annex certain areas of the community into the city.
The state Supreme Court ruling issued Jan. 17 concurred with a 2016 decision in Coahoma County Chancery Court that the Viney Ridge Road neighborhood (known as Area 1) and a small segment along Friars Point Road (Area 2) would not be annexed into Clarksdale. The city would be allowed to annex property known as Areas 3, 4 and 5.
At a special meeting Tuesday, the Coahoma County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to appeal the Supreme Court ruling. Board president Paul Pearson, Johnny Newson and Will Young supported the appeal. Pat Davis and Derrell Washington opposed.
Pearson has been against any annexation from the start.
“The reason why is I felt like we’ve come this far and the big money has been spent, and if we could possibly have one more time in front of the state Supreme Court, maybe some of the folks that are included now may not be included,” he said. “Or we may be able to come to some sort of compromise.”
Davis felt like it was time to move forward, as the county has spent $340,000 in legal fees alone.
“We carried this to the highest court in Mississippi, the Supreme Court, and I respect the decision,” he said. “This issue has been going on for over seven years and, as you know, litigation can get expensive. I think it’s time to put it to rest and go with their decision.”
The city also had 14 days after the ruling was made to appeal the ruling.
Clarksdale mayor Chuck Espy, who said he has never been for annexation, said the matter would be discussed during a special meeting at noon Friday.
“Officially, as the mayor of Clarksdale, I’m only concerned about making sure that citizens are protected and will do what’s in the best interest for all of Clarksdale,” he said. “The Board of Supervisors has a right to appeal, rescind or contest any part of that ruling. I guess that will be the next step for them. I will just wait and see what our next steps will be and what our advice of legal counsel will be.”
The city has spent some $1.026 million on the case so far in legal and consultant fees.