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Monday, March 02, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "Annexation overhaul in works: Bill gives greater say to landowners over cities, towns"

Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has a long, knowledgeable Sunday story that begins:

INDIANAPOLIS – Legislators are considering a wholesale change to state annexation laws that would put landowners in the driver’s seat.

The move comes about 15 years since the last major overhaul. But now property tax caps are in place, and they bring a new dynamic to the old conversation.

A compromise version of legislation died in the House on Wednesday leaving a more aggressive Senate bill as the vehicle moving forward. (HB 1561; SB 330)

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said annexation is simply another way for cities and towns to build their tax base.

“I think it’s wrong,” he said. “I think annexation law is getting modernized with this bill and I hope it passes. I don’t like it unless it’s a voluntary exchange between the property owner and government.”

But others are worried that legislators are gutting a key tool that municipalities use for growth and economic development.

“This turns annexation on its head in terms of how it has traditionally been done,” said Sen. John Broden, D-South Bend.

“Most communities do annexations the right way. I don’t think the voices of a small group of people should obviate the benefits that annexation provides.”

Annexation has always been controversial because those being brought into a community see higher taxes, but don’t have a way to vote against the plan or those pushing it.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 2, 2015 09:42 AM
Posted to Indiana Government