Bloomington may grow to 100,000 strong by the end of the summer. The majority of the new 15,000 residents will come from border expansion on the western side of the city.
The first area proposed for annexation, called the south-west area, runs along S.R. 37., considered part of the “two-mile fringe” of Bloomington. Area one has been looked at for annexation for more than a decade. All of the areas for annexation are considered to be urbanized. Area one is the largest section, adding 9,452 people, 50.5 miles of county roads and more than 5,000 acres to the city.
Included in these areas is Ivy Tech State College, Cook, Inc., Duke Energy and Batchelor Middle School.
Townships in the area include Bloomington, Perry, Richland and Van Buren. All of these townships are on independent fire department contracts, which will lose funding if these townships are annexed.
Cost and taxes
Residents of each of the seven areas will see property tax increases, with residents of area one seeing the largest increases.
Annexing area one alone will cost between $12.6 million and $19.6 million in capital and noncapital expenses for its first year, with the majority of costs expected to go to maintenance salaries and projects. Revenues from tax levy increases on the areas is expected to cover $5.3 million. The city plans to take out bonds to cover remaining costs of annexation beyond what tax revenue will come in.
“Property taxes from annexations would support enhanced services in all the areas we serve, especially the ones we would be annexing,” Philippa Guthrie, corporate counsel for the city, said at last week’s Bloomington city council meeting.
More than eight and a half miles of the I-69 expansion will pass through the proposed annexed areas, nearly six of which will be in area one. All of the annexed areas are intended for the city to control economic stimulation of I-69 to Bloomington, according to the financial report.
Three of the planned interchanges – those on West Fullerton Pike, West Tapp Road and S.R. 45/46 bypass – are a part of area one. Overpasses planned for South Rockport Road, West Vernal Pike and West Arlington Road will also be in area one.
The city would have control over commercial projects that would take place around these interchanges.
Much of the vocalization from area one residents have been against annexation.
Longtime Monroe County resident Diana Igo has been among the loudest, attending Bloomington city council, Monroe County council and county commissioners meetings to express her criticism of the project. Her biggest criticism is what she believes is a lack of communication from Mayor John Hamilton’s office to other city and county officials, and that people she did not elect are making the decisions on annexation.
Igo, 68, has lived at her Hickory Drive home for nearly seven years. She said she moved out of Bloomington after a neighbor of hers was forced to remove plants from a garden because it did not meet city requirements. She said she does not want to see those kind of limitations happen again and does not want the city to tell her what she can and cannot do on her property.
“I like living in the country,” she said. “I’ve never lived anywhere with the houses so close together.”
Igo said she does not see one benefit that she would receive from being an official part of the city. She said she does not need city transit, as she feels the need to be independent as much as possible while living with arthritis, and does not want the possibility of sidewalks and extra foot traffic stirring a reaction from her dogs.
The IDS contacted various other residents who live in area one who did not want to be interviewed, but did say they and everyone they knew were against being annexed. If 65 percent of the population of an annexation area does not want to be a part of the city, they may file a remonstrance petition.
“As I go to meetings and listen to experts, I notice that all of the experts have a vision of what life should be like in Bloomington,” Igo said. “It’s clear me they’ve never talked to the regular people.”
If you are not sure whether or not you live in the proposed annexation areas, look here: http://bloomington.in.gov/annex to search by name, address or parcel number.
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