Democrat Frank Melton and Republican Rick Whitlow, the two mayoral candidates in the June 7 general election, need to remember that they are running for the office of mayor of Jackson, not Byram.
Both have said annexation of Byram would not be a priority. That may play well with some Byram opponents of the plan, but it would be harmful for the city of Jackson.
Residents seldom want to be annexed. That’s a fact of life. Whether that community is using fire services, water, sewer, etc., it’s natural for outer residents to oppose having to pay city taxes or change the political status quo.
But Jackson has spent about $40 million to build a fire station on Lakeshore Road and install water lines in Byram. It is crucial to the future of the city to delineate its natural growth path. In previous administrations, the city has been too timid in this. The Byram annexation is necessary for the growth and health of Jackson’s future. If Jackson doesn’t succeed economically, neither will surrounding areas.
Negotiations to seek a compromise and more support from the area would be fine, but the annexation should not be dropped.