New: Bloomington.in.gov/alpha. Your feedback can help make our next website better!

State House Targets Bloomington Annexation Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 21, 2017

For more information, please contact:

Mary Catherine Carmichael, Communications Director, carmichm@bloomington.in.gov, 812-219-2679

State House Targets Bloomington Annexation Process

Bloomington, Ind. - Legislative surgery at the Indiana State House targets Bloomington's legal right to pursue annexation for removal.


The State Legislature is singling out Bloomington's annexation process by inserting language into the State's biennial budget bill that would abruptly terminate Bloomington's proposed annexation, effective April 30. It would also prohibit any related annexations for five years. The bill and the five-year freeze out appear to affect only Bloomington.


"This action represents an outrageous intrusion into our local democracy and a long-standing area of municipal authority," stated Mayor John Hamilton. "It is a direct affront to the idea of home rule -- a concept about which this legislature often speaks highly, but when it comes to action conveniently turns into lip service. Indications are that this language will be passed by the legislature in the next 24 hours."


Bloomington's annexation process formally began on February 15 with approval of resolutions by the Bloomington Common Council. The language currently inserted into the budget bill states, "An annexation ordinance that is introduced after December 31, 2016 and before July 1, 2017, that proposed to annex property [in an unincorporated area]. . . is void and the annexation action is terminated. A municipality may not take any further action to annex any of the property to which this section applies until after June 30, 2022, including introducing another annexation ordinance."


"Bloomington has followed every state law and requirement in pursuing our proposed annexation, with the ultimate goal of making our community the best that it can be. To have a legal annexation process stopped dead -- before we can even finish fleshing out the parameters with the public for areas to be annexed and how services can most efficiently be provided -- hijacks an ongoing, transparent, public process in an egregiously unwise and autocratic manner.


This Bloomington-specific language was not in a piece of municipal legislation but was apparently slipped in the budget bill at the last hour in the dark of night by a limited number of powerful insiders. There were no public hearings, no public comments, and not a single communication from anyone at the State House initiating or drafting this language to anyone at the City of Bloomington."


Mayor Hamilton has expressed his dissatisfaction and concerns to President Pro Tem Long, Speaker Bosma and Governor Holcomb and has urged them to reconsider.

###