Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 3, 2002

Vally Grande attorney files with Supreme Court

By Alan Riquelmy / Selma Times – Journal

The Alabama Supreme Court may have something to say about incorporation in Valley Grande.

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At a hearing on incorporation Monday afternoon in Judge Marvin Wiggins’ court, Wiggins said he will take no action on the case until the higher court has a chance to take a look at a petition that was filed the same day by those pushing for incorporation.

Wiggins also said that he wouldn’t do anything to stop Valley Grande residents from incorporating.

J. Doyle Fuller, attorney for the proponents of incorporation in Valley Grande, filed a petition Monday morning asking the high court to set aside a restraining order signed by Wiggins that stopped Valley Grande residents from incorporating.

Fuller said that he is still in the process of fine tuning the petition to incorporate Valley Grande. He hopes to file it by Wednesday, but said that nothing is certain.

Fuller also said he hopes to have an election for incorporation before the new year.

Fuller said Wiggins’ order stopped incorporation papers from being filed and from Probate Judge Johnny Jones from accepting incorporation papers. The petition also said Wiggins had exceeded his lawful authority.

The restraining order that stopped Valley Grande residents from incorporating was filed on Nov. 22 by attorneys Kyra Sparks and Collins Pettaway,

who represented Debra Robinson of Valley Grande.

Sparks said that Robinson, among others, had approached her concerned by &uot;misinformation&uot; given about incorporation. Sparks said Robinson questions claims that taxes wouldn’t rise if Valley Grande is incorporated, and that they would have fire and police protection.

According to Sparks, Robinson did her own research and now believes taxes will rise if the area is incorporated.

Also, she said, Valley Grande would lose Selma services.

Tamara Smith of Valley Grande said that she had signed a petition for incorporation, but the very next day wanted to remove her name from the list.

Smith added that she doesn’t want to pay higher taxes.

She also said that if Valley Grande incorporates then the Selma police and fire departments wouldn’t serve the area any longer.

Pettaway said that those who had signed the petition and now feel mislead could have their names removed from the list. He also said that those who wanted to remove their names should contact him or Fuller.

Prince Chestnut,

an associate of Chestnut, Sanders and Sanders who fielded questions about the hearing Monday, said the Alabama Supreme Court could rule in three different ways.

First, he said, the court could do nothing. This would turn the incorporation into a waiting game, said Chestnut, until Valley Grande proceeded with incorporation through the courts.

Second, the high court could say that it isn’t a matter for the circuit court to deal with, and that the probate court should handle the matter.

Wiggins is a circuit judge, while Jones is a probate.

Thirdly, Chestnut

continued, the high court could decide that it is proper for a circuit court to deal with the matter.

According to Jones, state law requires that a petition for incorporation of cities be filed in probate court.