Annexation battle brewing in Clarksdale - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Annexation battle brewing in Clarksdale

An annexation battle is brewing in Clarksdale, MS, where the city wants a bigger part of Coahoma County. An annexation battle is brewing in Clarksdale, MS, where the city wants a bigger part of Coahoma County.

(WMC-TV) - An annexation battle is brewing in Clarksdale, MS, where the city wants a bigger part of Coahoma County.

Clarksdale may only stretch three exits along Highway 61 now, but that could change.

"They have begun their annexation process," said Coahoma County Administrator Daniel Vassel.

Vassel says some supervisors don't like the city's current plan.

"The annexation in its current state is not consistent with our growth," Vassel said.

According to Vassel, the county gives Clarksdale about $200,000 per year from casino revenue, but supervisors voted to stop writing the check until the city alters its plan.

"The general feel from the board is they cease giving them the money for the purposes of using that money to try and stop the current plan of annexation," said Vassel.

The city's plan to grow may affect taxes for business and property owners in the county, like Coahama Country Club owner Elvin Yawn.

"Probably $10,000 a year increase in taxes on that property," Yawn said.

In an economy where people are finding less green in their wallets, the greens on Yawn's course are little less busy.

"The golf course I own is geared toward the working man so money is tight right now. I can't afford to raise the dues," Yawn said.

Nearby communities like Lyon, Mississippi could also feel the impact of an expanding Clarksdale.

Mayor Woody Sawyer worries that current annexation plans might hinder growth for Lyon.

"We do have some potential in the future for growth and that's what we're looking down the road is growth for the town of Lyon," Sawyer said.

Lyon lies along the future Interstate 69 corridor, and Sawyer wants to make sure his town is able to grow as the road project moves forward, hoping more people will come to the area.

"I think we could use some more housing; we're a small community," said Sawyer.

A call to the Clarksdale mayor wasn't returned, but the city attorney told Action News 5 that the city has been carefully planning their annexation with the help of outside counsel.

The Clarksdale City Attorney had nothing to say about the county's threat to remove casino revenue, but added that the Mayor and city commissioners were scheduled to meet late Monday afternoon.

According to the city attorney, the plans would only add about 300 people to the city limits. He said property taxes may increase for those citizens, but they would also receive additional city services.

With the upcoming Juke Joint Festival this weekend, Vassel hopes the two sides can come to an agreement soon.

"I think the next step is for city and county leaders to sit down at the table and figure out what's best for our citizens moving forward," Vassel said.

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