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40 turn out for city sewer talk; some want to be de-annexed

[11/19/2004] Sewer lines in the South Ward annexed area could be another year off, but not all the residents there are looking forward to the project’s completion.

Vicksburg officials fielded questions from about 40 residents and property owners Thursday night about plans to install new lines along Redbone Road, Singing Hills Road and off U.S. 61 South. People wanted to know about possible damage to private property, placement of manhole covers and if landowners can opt out of being considered municipal residents.

“We’ve been paying city taxes for 15 years and the only thing we’ve got from the city is a green garbage can,” said Joe Lyons, 285 Singing Hills Road. “I’m willing to give that back and give me back to the county,” he said.

City Attorney Nancy Thomas said that property owners could petition the court to be de-annexed, but Mayor Laurence Leyens countered that those annexed in 1990 have gotten services including police and fire protection and that the city is now installing fire hydrants and will soon add sewer lines in one of the last areas to be served.

“Granted, these things should have been done when you were annexed, but I can’t go back 15 years and make excuses for what wasn’t done three administrations ago,” Leyens said.

In all, about 50 properties will be required to hook up to the system within 180 days after it is completed, changing over from their existing septic systems.

City Planner Wayne Mansfield said appraisals for needed rights of way are expected to be finished by mid-January, but that actual construction cannot begin until all the landowners have agreed to the easements.

The total project is expected to cost about $4.2 million and is being funded through a state loan.

South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman, who lives on Singing Hills Road, assured homeowners that the city would ensure that the contract for the project repairs any damage to yards and will be responsible for harm to any trees.

“They are going to fix everything,” Beauman said. “They’re going to fix your yard and my yard. I promise.”