Canton opposing Gluckstadt’s incorporation

By NIKKI ROWELL,

The legal battle over Gluckstadt incorporation wages on, as the city of Canton has filed a cross appeal against the court’s final decree, which approved the incorporation of Gluckstadt, and the 2018 jurisdictional ruling.

The city joins local business owner, Ron Hutchinson, who filed an appeal against the ruling in April.

The case will be heard by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

However, because of the amount of information they will have to sift through, the case could take years.

Gluckstadt attorney John Scanlon said there is more than a month’s worth of testimony, hundreds of trial exhibits and four parties being represented by attorneys on appeal.

“The case is so much more complicated,” Scanlon said.

This could mean another two years until a resolution is reached and could cost incorporators more than $100,000.

“Both parties have appealed the jurisdictional ruling of 2018, which means they feel there were not the required signatures for the filed petition, and each disagree with the court ruling last year,” Gluckstadt resident Kerry Minninger said. “This was already heard once and the opposition lost.”

Minninger added that if the appeals are successful, the area will never become a city, which could allow Canton to annex parts of Gluckstadt.

“Needless to say, this is a sad, unfortunate situation for the citizens who support this community,” Minninger said.

Residents of Gluckstadt have spent more than 10 years working toward incorporation of the area.

According to Hutchinson’s attorney Sheldon Alston, Hutchinson has “several projects that are shovel-ready” and he has concerns that Gluckstadt does not have the structure in place to continue moving forward on the projects.

If the appeal had not been filed, Gluckstadt could be seeking a charter to be issued by the Secretary of State within weeks. Scanlon said the proposed city could have been hosting its first meetings by June and could have been prepared for municipal elections in 2021.

“Because of the appeal, they won’t be able to begin that process until the appeal process is complete, and the appeal process takes time,” Scanlon said.

“It is certainly unfortunate. People who have worked for this for years are definitely disappointed,” Scanlon said.

There are several possible outcomes to this trial.

The trial court’s order could be affirmed entirely, meaning that the outcome of the previous trial would be confirmed. Canton could not be awarded any of the areas it was granted and the boundaries could be reset.

“Gluckstadt could even be wiped off the map and not allowed to incorporate. Or a combination of all of those things,” Scanlon said.

The next step will be all parties reviewing the transcript of trial testimony and agree on the record for the court.

Scanlon predicts that the entirety of the trial court record will be entered.

Once all parties have had a chance to review and agree that they’ve established a complete and accurate record, the case will be assigned to a justice and panel.

Scanlon said since the case is complicated and several parties are involved, it is likely that briefing could take place as late as next year.

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