The town of Salem is moving forward with the annexation of nearly 500 acres of land it owns now with the cooperation of the Harrison County Commission.
Previously, the town had filled an annexation by petition and then a writ of mandamus when the commission did not immediately sign off on the action.
Commissioners said they were doing their due diligence in analyzing a section of Route 50 included in the petition which the ownership of was questioned.
Two weeks ago, the town decided to drop the legal action and work with the county on an annexation through minor boundary adjustment rather than work against the county through the annexation by petition and a previously proposed minor boundary adjustment.
At its meeting last Thursday, now that the disputed lands are off the table, the commission vowed to work with Salem to get them their land.
"Both [the petition and minor boundary adjustment] took in property of citizens that the city of Salem did not own," Commissioner Mike Romano said. "We believe it was simply a miscommunication, which has now been straightened out. I think that's whey you see both governmental entities working together for the benefit of everybody."
The commission has also pledged the legal services from the county's prosecuting attorney's office.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Harrison County Shawn Atkins will serve as Special Town Attorney for Salem only for matters related to the annexation project.
Atkins said he wants to make the process as easy as possible.
"I wanna work with the city of Salem to make sure that this annexation is done correctly, the proper steps are followed by way of ordinance, meetings, public hearings, whatever needs to be done on the city side of that," he said. "I'll work in conjunction with the county commission to make sure what we're proposing here from the city meets the approval of the county commission so that this is kind of a seamless approach that we can move what the city would like to do, what the county would like to do so everyone's on the same page."
Mayor Bobby Samples is happy to be working with the commission rather than against it, especially with all the assistance coming from the county's end.
"I certainly appreciate the help of the county commission and also their legal counsel for helping the community of Salem."
The Upper and Lower Dog Run areas and contiguous area of U.S. 50 to connect the two are part of the proposed 497 acres to be annexed.