Next step: Valley Grande elections

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Signed, sealed and delivered: Valley Grande is a town.

On Tuesday Probate Judge Johnny Jones said that an order of incorporation for Valley Grande had been filed in the probate court. Its next destination is the secretary of state’s office in Montgomery.

Jones said that the next stage of the process will be an election for the mayor and city council of the new town. However, before that can occur office seekers must have time to qualify.

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Mike Henderson, an attorney with J. Doyle Fuller’s office representing Valley Grande residents who want to incorporate, said that Jones must first sign a notice of election and then appoint election officials.

The election would most likely occur on a Tuesday, and could be less than 35 days away.

Jones said that there is a possibility candidates would have to pay a fee to qualify, but that was no different from many similar elections that take place. Also, age and how long one has lived in the area may have some bearing on qualification.

Henderson said that a challenge to the process had already been filed by Collins Pettaway, attorney representing Valley Grande residents who don’t want to incorporate. The challenge, a writ of mandamus, is an attempt to take the incorporation issue out of Jones’ hands, Henderson explained, and put it into the circuit court’s hands.

Pettaway said he filed the writ on Friday, and added that there would be an additional petition filed in the circuit court shortly.

Pettaway said some people that supposedly signed the petition to incorporate Valley Grande actually did not, Pettaway said.

His clients were just trying to protect themselves and others who want to keep their lifestyle and not be part of any city, he said.

Henderson said the challenges were nothing more than a delaying tactic and a means to cost Valley Grande citizens more money.