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City council approves agreement with Cook Group Inc.

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Mayor John Hamilton speaks at the city council meeting Oct. 4 evening to endorse Ordinance 17-39, which authorized an agreement between the City of Bloomington and Cook Medical. The Bloomington City Council voted Wednesday night to approve a deal made with Cook Group Inc. which would allow the Bloomington-based company to pay the city fees in exchange for not being annexed into the city limits. Emily Eckelbarger Buy Photos

An agreement announced last month between Cook Group Inc. and the City of Bloomington, which would require the company to pay fees instead of being annexed within the city limits, was approved by the city council Wednesday night.

The 15-year agreement requires the company to pay at least $100,000 to the city on an annual basis. Annexation implies the need to pay additional taxes. 

The city had planned to annex about 10,000 acres of area around Bloomington, but this effort was quashed by provisions introduced by the state legislature in April. 

The city filed a lawsuit against Gov. Eric Holcomb, saying the provision was unconstitutional. While the state asked for the suit to be dismissed, the city announced Wednesday that a judge had denied this request. 

Agreements in lieu of annexation have existed with local businesses, including Cook, since 1979, according to the city's website. The most recent agreement expired in 2012. 

The new agreement, introduced at the end of the September, came less than two weeks after Cook Group announced its plans to purchase a new facility in Bloomington. Cook Group said these new investments in the community could result in 500 new jobs over the next 10 years. 

The resolution passed with only one abstention on the council. Council members that did speak said they were grateful for the newly announced development plans and saw Cook Group as a good corporate citizen.

Jesse Naranjo

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