The judge ruled in favor of plaintiffs, Sal and Frank Diesi, Little Capital of Louisiana, Inc., Diesi Development Corporation, as well and intervenors, Jackie, Karen and Kimberly Serrette, on their motion for summary judgment, ending Henderson’s second attempt to annex the area surrounding I-10 exit 115.
Glenn Soileau, attorney for the plaintiffs, also reported that the plaintiffs have instructed him to begin the process of incorporating the Village of Nina, “...which will further insure that the Town of Henderson never attempts the annexation again”.
Henderson Mayor Sherbin Collette confidently stated that he is not a quitter.
“I intend to continue until I get it”, Collette commented.
City Attorney Jerry Mallet said the town still has a couple of processes left to explore.
In his reasons for judgment, Judge Comeaux found that the Town of Henderson has nothing to offer the annexed area and that the sole benefit of annexation would be to the town itself with the additional collection of $571,000 in annual sales tax.
He also cited lack of growth in population and business. Comeaux noted that Henderson has only increased in population by 100 people over the past couple of decades and that no recent building permits had been issued. He ruled that the annexation was unreasonable, based on the facts.
Soileau says he offered to support the annexation, on the condition that the mayor removed his clients from the area to be annexed. He also stated that Collette was his best witness, as he admitted in his deposition that nothing had changed.
The Town of Henderson argued that, contrary to the prior annexation attempt, the annexed land was contiguous to the existing town. In addition, they argued that the town could provide enhanced fire and police protection and other services.
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal shot down the annexation in 2007. The appeals court was of the opinion that the proposed area was not contiguous to the current city limits and the annexation was unreasonable, in part due to Henderson being unable to provide sufficient services. Judge Comeaux conceded that Henderson had indeed rectified this problem, and the new proposed annexation was contiguous.
Yet he questioned the need and the motivation for the annexation, stating: “In the past four decades Henderson has not had any substantial growth and has only expanded in the past few years to annex a one mile strip of Interstate 10 which it uses to collect almost $1 million a year in traffic fines.”