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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Indiana Annexation News

Geist Reservoir Residents v. Town of Fishers

Indianapolis Star reports on the efforts of homeowners in an area targeted by the Town of Fishers, Indiana, to fight back.

What are the positions some of the folks to whom they are aiming their message? Well, one is the Governor of Indiana who had owned a house in the Geist area. Another is the Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives whose legislative district includes part of the proposed area to be annexed. The Noblesville Times has a story and photograph on the protest at a Republican fundraiser.

Coverage of the residents' side is provided by the website atgeist.com. The editor of the website, Tom Britt, writes:
The informational meeting that the Town of Fishers billed “One Night, One Town” was more like “Three-Hundred Residents, Three-Hundred No’s”.


Overwhelmingly, residents were disgruntled. Not because they didn’t like the Fishers policemen that were there. Not because they were afraid of the small snake that Danesa Stolz from Parks & Recreation had out. They were disgruntled because they weren’t getting the answer to the million dollar question, “What is in this for me as a Geist resident?”

Geist is an interesting comparison in many ways to our own Aboite annexation...

A Republican Mayor and a Republican City Council in Fort Wayne annexed about 25,000 people; most of whom are Republicans.

Will their be a backlash?

I am looking forward to the next couple of elections so I can find out...
It's funny to me that a politician can be voted into office with less than 50% of the votes, but a municipality can grab land and acquire the tax base of a neighboring unincorporated area on a whim and it takes 65% of the residents to remonstrate. That doesn't even guarantee a victory, all that does is give you a day in court and a huge legal bill. It's a travesty that our government can forcibly annex property owners and increase their taxes.
I think it is a shame that we can elect politicians with less than 50% of the popular vote, but they can turn around and annex property and the only recourse is to remonstrate with 65% of the property owners (or 75% of the assessed value). The burden of proof lies on the Town or municipality to prove their case, but it still puts a burden on the residents to raise money to fight it. We need to reverse this law that our wonderful state legislature put in place in 1999.
We had encouraging news last week. A similar annexation case in Hamilton County was overruled by a judge. The full story is on atGeist.com
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