THOMASVILLE — The City of Meigs is backing off a plan to annex state and federal roads.

A letter to Mike Stephenson, Thomas County manager, shows Meigs is no longer pursuing the annexation. The Oct. 1 letter was copied to Meigs city attorney Bruce Warren and to the Georgia Municipal Association.

The annexation plan was drawn up by Jimmy Layton, Meigs police chief and public works superintendent, who has refused to discuss the project with the Times-Enterprise.

State and federal agencies must approve annexation plans before they can proceed.

Layton’s annexation documents went to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). A DCA spokesman told the Times-Enterprise in September Meigs did not document that the city sought preclearance from the U.S. Justice Department, as required by state law. Preclearance is a provision of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Neither did the Meigs material include a statement that said the city would participate in the U.S. Census Bureau Boundary and Annexation Survey, as required by Georgia law.

The Meigs letter to Stephenson was in information provided to commissioners and the news media at a Tuesday county commission meeting. Commissioners acknowledged the letter, but did not comment.

Annie D. Lovejoy, Meigs mayor, said Tuesday her city would not pursue annexation until officials receive instructions from their legal counsel.

“We’ll start all over again,” Lovejoy said.

Mayor Pro-Tem Levon Gassett said a law that governs annexation by small towns has changed.

“The higher-up people up the line said it was not in our best interest — not to pursue it,” said Gassett, who also serves as Meigs volunteer fire chief. He is a career firefighter, a lieutenant, in the Thomas County Fire Department and assigned to the Coolidge fire station.

Gassett said Meigs officials will talk to residents of an area just outside the city limits in the U.S. 19 area to determine if they want to be annexed into the city.

The area contains four mobile homes, three houses and a business, the mayor pro-tem explained.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 220.

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