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CITY ALERT

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Good evening, and thank you Council members for your service and attention. Tonight we are asking you to resume the City’s proposed annexation process that was begun four years ago. Tonight we will outline resolutions to update the fiscal plans for each of the eight areas adjacent to the city proposed for annexation, and then amendments to update the previously adopted annexation ordinances. 

 

Tonight involves no final votes but rather is picking up where we left off in 2017, to update information -- a step required because of the state legislature’s precipitous interruption midway through that orderly process four years ago. As most are by now aware, a few months ago the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that that interruption violated our state constitution, illegally targeting one community and interfering in our ability to manage our affairs. That decision allows us to be here tonight, to resume the process from the point at which it was interrupted.

 

Annexation is a legal process to adjust a city’s borders to reflect changes in population and development. We’ve done it many, many times in Bloomington’s long history. Indeed, almost everyone living in Bloomington today lives on property that was once outside city limits, that was at some point annexed into the city.  On our website you can see detailed maps summarizing decades of annexations since 1950. Regular annexation has been essential to our thriving city. It has enhanced the efficient service delivery and the long-term, comprehensive planning that support the high quality of life enjoyed in our community.

 

Unfortunately, 17 years ago, in the previous administration, Bloomington’s pattern of regular annexations came to a halt. A generation of Bloomington kids have been born and will finish high school without any updating of our borders. But population and development have continued very actively for the past 17 years, including in the areas proposed for annexation. The residential density of these areas next to our boundaries, among other attributes, makes them often indistinguishable from the city. Put another way, our existing city boundaries are out-of-date; they no longer represent the on-the-ground realities of our community. If a growing, thriving community doesn’t keep its borders current, then disparities, inefficiencies and imbalances arise. The proposed annexation will help “right-size” Bloomington, providing an urban level of services for urbanized areas, and allowing our community of households and businesses to share and chart a common future.

 

By resuming tonight the right-sizing of our city, bringing urbanized and urbanizing areas formally into our city, we are planning to provide the services appropriate to such areas and their residents. Those services should and will include new and improved parks and recreation options, appropriate planning and development regulations, incentives for affordable housing and increasing mobility options, as well as essential public safety services, curb-side recycling, street plowing and sweeping, and upgrades where needed, supports for the arts and social services, and more. And of course, right-sizing will allow more of our neighbors direct involvement in our self-governance -- through voting, participation on board and commissions, and running for office -- to have our whole community determine our future together.

 

The evolution and growth we’ve seen in these eight areas has long been anticipated and planned for. In 2012, the County’s Comprehensive Plan highlighted the bulk of these areas as the intended "Bloomington Urbanizing Area."  And City and County governments long coordinated the planning of these areas in an agreement that established the “Areas Intended for Annexation,” or “AIFA.”  And even before the AIFA, City and County collaborated on the “Two-Mile Fringe,” comprising areas close to city boundaries that were likely to become part of the city in the future through annexation. Despite this anticipation and planning, very few of the “areas intended for annexation” have in fact been annexed, while the urbanizing march has continued in steady pace. 

 

In a moment Corporation Counsel Philippa Guthrie will discuss the legal process and our consultant with Reedy Financial will present the updated fiscal plans, which detail the City’s commitment to providing services to the annexation areas, the costs to the City of providing additional services, the manner of paying for the services, and the projected impacts to other taxing units and property owners - including detailed parcel impact reports. It is important to note that the annexation is proposed to become effective in 2024, with property taxes payable the following year, in 2025, a timeline designed to allow adequate transition time.

 

As we pick up where we left off four years ago, thank you for your stewardship of our thriving, growing community. Thank you for continuing the long-standing practice of adjusting our boundaries as our population grows, to assure a healthy, inclusive, high-quality-of-life community for all. I’ll be happy to answer questions as they arise, and now hand over to Ms. Guthrie.


 

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