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Oxford may have to annex a Lafayette County facility

After Oxford aldermen and Lafayette County supervisors realized that both local governments needed more space, especially for their courts, it seemed like a natural move to work together and build a joint facility that could accommodate all city and county courtroom needs.

Both sides took preliminary steps to work together, with the city of Oxford considering leasing space in the proposed Lafayette County Office Park on County Road 406.

However, those plans have been delayed after city and county attorneys discovered an Attorney General’s opinion that states municipalities should operate their municipal courts inside the city limits.

Oxford’s Municipal Court is now located inside City Hall and has outgrown the space available there.

City Attorney Pope Mallette briefly addressed the issue in Tuesday night’s Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting.

“Before you vote on the lease, we have to discuss annexation,” he said.

The board members went into executive session but took no action.

City officials may have to consider annexing the land the County Office Park will be built on.

“We think going in with the county on this is a win-win situation,” said Mayor Pat Patterson Thursday. “We will have to look at annexation. There are a number of details we have to consider.”

Moving forward

While the question of whether the city will be able to move its municipal court into the county building remains to be seen, Lafayette County officials are moving forward with their plans for the new multiuse building.

With the Mississippi Department of Transportation purchasing county property for the Highway 7 expansion, county officials need to relocate several agencies, including the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Department of Human Services and Child Protective Services. Officials have also decided to relocate the WIN Job Center and the county coroner office into the new building. Future development includes a multipurpose facility, as well as an amphitheater and three-plus acre pond.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a bid from Koehn Construction for $667,595 to begin site work and approved an intent resolution to issue up to a $20 million bond for road and building projects, including the new Office Park.