The Gluckstadt Fire Department is formally appealing a decision by the Board of Supervisors to give part of its coverage area to Canton.

The appeal, filed Tuesday in Madison County Circuit Court, asks the court to reverse the board’s decision on the grounds that it was unsupported by substantial evidence, arbitrary and capricious and violated the constitutional rights of the district.

The department’s board, the South Madison County Fire District, voted to have their attorney, John Scanlon, file the appeal following the supervisor’s Nov. 18 vote that followed a 45-minute public hearing.

“The action of the Board of Supervisors in redefining and reconfiguring the Fire Districts did not ensure the most appropriate and efficient fire protection coverage for the county’s citizens,” Scanlon wrote in the appeal.

At issue is whether the Canton Fire Department or Gluckstadt Fire Department should serve as the first responder for the 30 parcels of land recently annexed by Canton near Germantown High School.

Scanlon said last week the 8 mills levied by the district on the disputed area currently generates $3,361. But the long-term ramifications loom large.

Canton City Attorney Kimberly Banks argued at the Nov. 18 public hearing that the residents and businesses would be double-taxed for fire protection, which one business owner testified is OK.

The area, off I-55 near Germantown High School, runs from Church Road to the south and Sowell Road to the north, is mostly undeveloped but does include the convenience store, the new John Deere dealership and an apartment complex under construction.

A convenience store owner in the area submitted a letter saying he is willing to pay an additional $1,656 in taxes to remain covered by Canton and Gluckstadt.

Canton Mayor William Truly spoke on behalf of the city and argued that by denying Canton’s request, the board would set a dangerous precedent.

“If you deny this request,” Truly said. “You’ll have to deny the next request from Madison or the pending request from Ridgeland over their latest annexation announced recently.

“We’re making the same request the cities of Madison or Ridgeland would make in the same situation.”

Eddie Price, chairman of the fire district board, appeared at the public hearing alongside attorney Scanlon.

They argued that the businesses currently located — or soon to be located — in the area do not mind being double-taxed if it means solid fire protection.

They presented the signed letter from UTTAM, LLC convenience store operator Jay Gosain saying he does not mind the double-protection or double-taxation and does not wish the de-annexation to go through.

The Gluckstadt Fire Department began serving the area three decades ago.

Until recently, all decisions over the districts were left to the fire commission board, which granted Ridgeland’s request. Since that time, the state Legislature voted to give that authority to the Board of Supervisors, which is why they received the de-annexation request.

Members of the board had expressed hope that the two sides would come to a mutual agreement without the public hearing and the board’s vote.

Scanlon said Canton officials balked at an agreement that would have split the disputed area between the two districts. Truly could not be reached for comment.

“There could be resolutions to this issue outside of taking (the appeal) the full distance,” Scanlon said Tuesday. “But that remains to be seen.”