Group seeks certification of petition for incorporation

The petition to incorporate Bellevue as a city was expected to be presented to the Lamar County Board of Supervisors at its meeting Thursday morning in Purvis.

Then the group seeking incorporation will walk across the hall of the William J. “Pete” Gamble III Chancery Courthouse and present the petition to Chancery Clerk Wayne Smith to be certified. Supervisors were notified in 2015 that the petition for incorporation was underway.

John Adcock, the proposed mayor of Bellevue, notified media representatives by email on Tuesday that his group “will be making a MAJOR announcement about the incorporation of Bellevue this Thursday morning.” He said he also plans to be on hand afterwards for interviews.

“We are obviously extremely excited,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “We have spent a great deal of work and sacrifice to get to this point. We felt like we were in an either-or scenario; we were going to become a part of Hattiesburg or we had to control our own destiny.”

Adcock said he realized that his group would face opposition to the petition for incorporation.

“We have shown that we have the will of the people with this petition,” he said. “We will continue to take the necessary steps for incorporation.

According to “Municipal Government in Mississippi” from the Center for Government & Community Development at Mississippi State University Extension Service, a new municipality may be created in Mississippi if the area has:

•One square mile of territory;

•Population of at least 300;

•At least one mile of hard surface streets (either existing or under construction);

•At least six streets making up the one mile of hard surfaced streets; and

•A public utilities system (water and/or sewer) existing or under construction.

The petition for incorporating a town – which Adcock is expected to present Thursday – must have signatures of at least two thirds of the qualified electors in the area. The petition must:

• Describe that area proposed to be incorporated;

•Contain a map or plat of the area to be incorporated;

•Set forth the corporate name of the new municipality;

•Set forth the number of inhabitants in the new municipality;

•Set forth the assessed valuation of the real property in the area according to the latest available assessment;

•State the aims of the petitioners in seeking to incorporate;

•Set forth the municipal and public services the municipality proposes to provide;

•Set forth the reasons that the public convenience and necessity requires a new municipality and contain a statement of the names of the persons the petitioners desire to

•Be appointed as officers of the new municipality; and

•Be sworn to by at least one of the petitioners.

Once the necessary signatures are obtained the petition must be filed in Chancery Court. Then a date is set for the hearing by the chancellor. Notice of the time of the hearing must be published in a newspaper. If there is an existing municipality within three miles of the area to be incorporated, process must be served on it at least 30 days before a hearing in chancery court. If the chancellor grants the incorporation, in whole or part, a decree is entered and becomes effective 10 days after it is entered.