Annexation question stirs deep passions

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 10, 2002

Dallas County Commission Chairman Johnny Jones isn’t expecting

any passionate outbursts when the commission takes up the Valley Grande annexation question at its regular meeting Monday.

The passionate outbursts, he adds, are likely to take place an hour or so later when then Selma City Council takes up the same issue at its regularly scheduled meeting.

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The city of Selma recently commissioned a study on the feasibility of annexing various areas in Dallas County, including Valley Grande. Some, chief among them City Councilmembers Rita Franklin and Glenn Sexton, say the study is a mere prelude to the city initiating steps to annex Valley Grande &045; even if it means doing so through the rarely invoked method of a local act of the Legislature.

Mayor James Perkins Jr., who requested the study,

says that sometimes a study is just a study.

Amid conflicting rumors, Valley Grande residents turned out en masse for a community meeting Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Jones and County Commis-sioner Roy Moore, who represents the Valley Grande area, were among those who attended the meeting.

Jones lives on Old Orrville Road. He said he lives there because he wants to.

&uot;Those folks moved out there because they want to be in the county,&uot; he said of the Valley Grande residents.

Moore agreed that most Valley Grande residents don’t want to be annexed. &uot;If they have to incorporate, that’s what they’ll have to do,&uot; he said.

Moore added that if the area does choose to incorporate, his role as commissioner will not change at all.

Moore lives in Tyler, which is part of the area that the city studied. He said that no one there has any real worries that Selma will annex Tyler.

Moore said that he has not heard of any other reactions to the annexation study and he said he doesn’t expect to. He also said that the idea behind annexation is to enlarge the city’s tax base.

He added that due to the city being under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, any annexation would have to be approved by the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.

Because Valley Grande is mostly white, he said, if Selma annexed the area, it would also have to annex an area such as Selmont, which is mostly black, so that the number of voters in the city will balance out racially.

The annexation study does an analysis of the projected revenue each area would bring in if annexed. Valley Grande and Selmont are the two areas with the largest amounts of revenue.

Valley Grande is projected to bring in roughly $1 million in additional taxes each year if it were annexed. Selmont is projected to bring in around $1.4 million.