Annexation of Graves County schools moves forward with resistance

Annexation plans for the city of Mayfield move forward, but not without resistance. The Graves County school board filed a lawsuit Monday in connection with the city of Mayfield’s annexation plans.

The city wants to annex the district’s middle school, elementary school, and other buildings, but that means those employees face a 2 percent payroll tax.

Before Monday’s unanimous vote on the second reading, Mayfield councilman Johnny Jackson addressed the crowd.

“This is a once in a decade opportunity for this little town to see some perhaps positive growth in the form of businesses…I’m sorry for the conflict. I wish we didn’t have to do this, but I don’t apologize for my vote,” Jackson said.

 Jackson argues it’s not a land grab but the school board’s attorney Ed Massey feels differently.

“It’s absolutely a land grab because for the city to go beyond the property line of the school board to the other areas they want to annex they have to do it continuously,” Massey said.

The Graves County school district is filing a lawsuit against the Graves County clerk to allow the schools superintendent, Kim Dublin, to vote as the owner of the board of education against the annexation.

“Right now the statue is not really clear. It allows an owner or a resident to petition in opposition, but then there’s a little catch that says they must reside on the property that is sought to be annexed. Well, it makes no sense statutory, legally, or logically that an owner could petition for election and then couldn’t vote,” Massey said.

He also says the school’s hired a school resource officer who’s a permanent resident on the property. The school board’s attorney says that officer has an established address and registered it with the county clerk to vote. The suit argues to allow that person to vote against the annexation as well.

The owner and resident would vote by requesting a petition for elections. A resident or owner on the property being annexed can ask for that within 60 days.

Mayor Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell says the payroll tax would apply to teachers and staff in the building, but not to employees who don’t spend the majority of the day here like bus drivers.

“The city of Mayfield plans to see this through. We plan to trailblazer for other cities across the commonwealth if that’s what we need to do for annexation, to protect that for cities and for their growth,” Rochetti-Cantrell said.

She says they’ve verbally contracted an attorney to help them moving forward with the school districts lawsuit. They plan to meet Thursday.

Rochetti-Cantrell said the next step allows 60 days for a legal resident or owner of the property to petition to have a ballot vote on the annexation

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