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Valley Grande vote set for Jan. 9

An election for the incorporation of Valley Grande has been scheduled for Jan. 9 at the Valley Grande Community Center.

Probate Judge Johnny Jones signed the papers calling for an election at a hearing Monday afternoon after hearing testimony from Mike Henderson, office manager for J. Doyle Fuller, the attorney representing a number of Valley Grande residents who want to incorporate.

Mayor James Perkins, Jr., who has opposed efforts to incorporate by Valley Grande, said that someone felt a need to rush the process for some reason.

Perkins said he had no plans to try and halt the incorporation proceedings.

Fuller said that while it was possible for opponents of incorporation to take action and try to stop the proceedings, he didn’t think they would be successful.

Fuller added that the petition meets all the requirements as set forth in state law, and that the courts have no authority to stop the incorporation efforts.

Henderson confirmed that a number of specific legal requirements had been met by those seeking Valley Grande’s incorporation, including the requirement that more than 300 residents live in the area proposed to be incorporated.

Another requirement is that at least 15 percent of qualified electors living in the proposed town must have signed the petition asking for incorporation. Henderson said that 607, or roughly 25 percent of the registered voters, had signed.

A map showing the areas proposed to be incorporated was shown to Jones. Henderson, motioning to the map, said that the law requiring four qualified electors residing on each quarter of each quarter section to sign the petition had also been met.

Henderson said that one section equals 640 acres. A quarter of a quarter section is only 40 acres, he said.

A total of 3,576.5 acres would be incorporated if a majority of Valley Grande residents vote in favor of becoming a town Jan. 9.

Fuller then asked Henderson why some places on the map were surrounded by areas included in the proposed town but not a part of it.

Henderson said that in those places there weren’t enough people to sign the petition, and therefore didn’t meet the population density requirement in the law.

Fuller said that the law requires residences to be contiguous, or touching, in some place.

The map had a number of areas that only touched at one corner.

Fuller said that the signatures on the petition could also be found on a list of registered voters. This showed that the signatures were by qualified electors and valid.

Jones then asked Fuller what a good time for the election would be, and Fuller said that Jan. 9 was a good day.

Fuller said that this was because notice of the election had to be posted in a newspaper once every week three times before the election. Also, three election supervisors must also be appointed.

Fuller said that in order to meet the timetable of Jan. 9 the first notice must appear on Friday.

Jones then granted the petition and signed off on the papers stating that all requirements had been met and declaring where and when the election would be.