Hancock County

Becoming part of Waveland? Nothing but a ‘disservice,’ county says

Silver Slipper Hotel and Casino in Lakeshore is in an area Waveland hopes to annex and Hancock County hopes to keep.
Silver Slipper Hotel and Casino in Lakeshore is in an area Waveland hopes to annex and Hancock County hopes to keep. Courtesy of Silver Slipper

Hancock County supervisors have stepped into the ring to fend off Waveland’s proposed annexation of parts of the Clermont Harbor and Lakeshore communities.

The Board of Supervisors filed an answer to the city’s annexation petition this week, outlining 27 reasons Waveland should not be allowed to take a small but highly valued chunk of unincorporated Hancock County.

In March, Waveland filed a petition to annex an area southwest of the city limits, from the beach to the railroad tracks, stretching all the way to Bayou Caddy. The land includes Bayou Caddy Fisheries and hundreds of homes and properties, but the most sought-after gem is the Silver Slipper Casino, which generates about $2 million annually in gaming taxes.

A large portion of the gaming-tax revenue pays for the county’s police and fire-protection services.

Annexation of that area could spell big losses for the county and big gains for Waveland, though city leaders have said they would not touch any money being used for the county’s police and fire protection.

In its objection, the Board of Supervisors asserted, among other things, “Waveland does not possess the financial ability to make the improvements and furnish the municipal services promised.”

Those promised services include, according to Waveland’s petition, improving drainage, installing water and sewer lines and new street lighting, providing police and fire protection, and providing access to city facilities, code enforcement and more.

Instead, the county claims, an annexation would provide only a “disservice,” a negative economic impact and “burden upon the residents and property owners of the proposed annexation area, the citizens of Hancock County as a whole, as well as to the residents of the City of Waveland, itself.”

A hearing on the annexation is scheduled for Sept. 12 in Chancery Court.

Wesley Muller: 228-896-2322, @WesleySMuller

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