The Gluckstadt incorporation is making slow and steady progress, but there is one commercial entity that wants to stay out of the issue.
The Mak Haik car dealership, located north of Glucksadt Road and west of I-55, does not want to be part of the incorporation. The car dealer does not want to be part of Canton’s annexation either.
In February of this year, attorney and appointed Gluckstadt mayor Walter Morrison filed the petition for Gluckstadt to be incorporated as a Madison County city. Simultaneously, the city of Canton filed a lawsuit to annex some land that overlaps with the Gluckstadt boundaries.
To make matters simpler, the Madison County court combined the two issues into one lawsuit.
In a statute conference in June, Haik and his lawyer, Jim Herring, have come forward opposing their involvement in both the incorporation and annexation. “He came over and made a big investment,” Herring said. “As soon as he started turning dirt, he had two lawsuits filed against him. At this point, we’re opposing both of them… We’re just questioning if we’re getting any benefits… That’s where we are at the present.”
Herring said he could not comment further on the matter.
“They’re objecting to incorporation (and annexation) in total. But as a fall back, asking to be carved out,” Morrison explained. “It’s bologna, because you’ve got Mac Haik from Texas in our community, and he wants our community to support his car dealership, but he’s going to object to supporting the community.”
If Haik’s dealership was excluded from the annexation and incorporation, his business would not have to pay taxes to a municipality, only to Madison County.
A Mac Haik dealership already exists in Jackson, where the millage is in the 50s, according to Morrison. Canton’s millage is 56.32, Madison’s millage is 28.8, Ridgeland’s millage is 20.03, and Gluckstadt’s is 12.12.
“For every $100,000 in appraised value, that’s $120 a year,” Morrison said. “Canton would be $560 a year compared to Gluckstadt’s $120.”
Morrison and Herring both said that besides Mac Haik, there have been no other major objectors to the incorporation of Gluckstadt.
Legally, Haik’s dealership can be carved out of the incorporation if that part of the suit passes.
“I don’t think a court is going to grant an incorporation and carve them out… but it will ultimately be up to the chancellor. It just stinks from a public policy stance.”
Canton’s annexation is not a new issue, but the recent filing was completed suspiciously close to Gluckstadt’s filing of their incorporation petition in February of this year.
“We understand there has been action by the Canton Board of Aldermen to file a second annexation that proposes multiple areas and includes portions in Gluckstadt boundaries,” John Scanlon with Pyle, Mills, Dye and Pittman attorneys said earlier this year. “The annexation runs southwest of the main city, down I-55, and takes in a primary intersection in the center of the Gluckstadt incorporation.”
Scanlon is one of the lawyers managing the Gluckstadt incorporation petition. According to Scanlon, Canton had an annexation some years ago that included an intersection projected to have major commercial development that never came to fruition “for various economic reasons.”
The intersection is located at Sowel Road and I-55 and does not currently connect to the main portion of Canton.
The current annexation includes multiple areas and portions of the proposed Gluckstadt boundaries.
Now that a preliminary statute conference has been held for the current lawsuit, Morrison said it won’t be until early next year before a trial will take place.
The trial was supposed to held last week, but the Madison County court has moved the date to early next year because of a scheduling conflict.
Before the incorporation petition was filed in February, 73.64 percent of registered voters’ signatures were obtained. The petition only needed 66 percent to be filed.
“We had 107 surplus signatures. That amounted to 1,250 signatures in total,” said Morrison.
For more information about the Gluckstadt incorporation, visit www.gluckstadt.net.