Southside Votes "No" to Becoming City

November 8, 2006 -- Posted at 6:28 p.m. CDT

SOUTHSIDE, AR -- The people in the rural community of Southside attempted to become their own city.  That measure failed with a vote of 849 to 611.

"The people pretty much spoke pretty convincingly that they didn't want us to become a city.  This issue of incorporation of us becoming a city has been batted around for fourty years," said Gary Mize.

Mary Bowen is one of several who have worked for years to get this issue to this point.

"We got our say because we got to vote on it.  We feel like we have won in that respect but we're kind of sad that people didn't see that they needed to vote in order for us to move forward and become a larger community," said Bowen.

"A lot of people worked really hard just to get this on the ballot.  It has been two years to get it on the ballot to give people the right to vote on it.  At least that decision is made now," said Mize.

Many see this defeat as a win for Batesville.  Batesville leaders were against the issue even making it on to the ballot.  Gary Mize says it's only a matter of time before Batesville does move outward and annex Southside.

"This decision has put Batesville back in the driver's seat.  The ball is definitely back in Batesville's court.  We'll have to wait and see what Batesville does," said Mize.

Southside already has the makings of becoming their own city.  They have their own school district and their own businesses.  What they don't have is the majority of the vote.

While there are some that are very passionate about moving forward and becoming a city, there are others who say this vote is the right result.

"When you start incorporating a city you have to impose certain rules and regulations," said Kenneth Ray.

Ray said there are many reasons why he voted "no" to Southside becoming incorporated, one being that he moved to Southside to live in the country and another being uncertainty.

"I felt for sure it would be an increase in taxes.  I'm not sure what they could tax," said Ray.

As for trying again, the supporters for incorporation say only time will tell.