Megan Banta, Herald-Times
Mayor John Hamilton is proposing a 10,000 acre annexation that would add about 15,000 people to the city’s population.
Annexations are complicated, so while I start digging through the 321-page fiscal plan, here is an FAQ sheet provided by the city, with some modifications by us for clarity.
Question: What is annexation?
Answer: Annexation is a procedure for bringing unincorporated areas of a county into an adjacent incorporated city or town. In short, annexed properties become “in the city.” The process is outlined in state law and generally allows a municipality to expand its boundaries to include existing developed or urban areas and to accommodate future growth opportunities and planning.
Q: Why is the City proposing these annexations?
A: The city’s boundaries are outdated. Although the areas in question may already be developed and a part of the Bloomington community, they are not “in the city” at this time. The proposed areas largely have been identified for annexation for decades, and many of the current or prior property owners agreed to be annexed in the future in exchange for city sewer service. Recent legislative changes direct municipalities to annex these types of areas sooner.
The annexations will allow all households and businesses in the community to be a part of the same future and create efficiencies and improvements in local government services for the areas. Some of the areas are islands completely surrounded by the city, while others have already developed beyond the old boundaries as a part of the Bloomington community. The annexations also include the new I-69 corridor, and will allow the city to promote and stimulate economic develop and diversity of uses around the I-69 expansion.
Q: What is the procedure for annexation?
A: The city is in the process of considering seven areas for annexation. The city is committed to ensuring that all potentially affected residents have an opportunity to provide input and be fully informed. Before introducing these annexation ordinances, the City will conduct a series of six public information meetings on March 20-25 at City Hall to inform and receive input from residents regarding the proposed annexation process.
Following the public information meetings, the next step would be for the city to introduce ordinances for one or more of the proposed annexations, after which the city will hold a public hearing at a date to be determined.
Q: Am I in the annexed area?
A: There are maps and lists of parcels and owners available on the city’s website at bloomington.in.gov/annex.
Q: How long will the process take?
A: The process for the city to consider approving the annexations could be completed this year. If adopted, the city is proposing to delay the effective date until Jan. 1, 2020, which means the areas would not be “in the city” until 2020 even if the ordinances are adopted this year.
Q: Will taxes increase on the annexed land?
A: Annexation generally adds a municipal “layer” of property taxes to the existing tax layers on a property (school, county, township, library, etc.), and the City anticipates most properties in the annexation areas would experience a tax increase after the annexation is effective (current planned for pay 2021). Property owners may see offsets to these increases, such as lower insurance costs due the City’s strong ISO rating for fire service. Property zoned agricultural would likely not see an increase unless/until the property is rezoned with the landowner’s permission.
Q: Once annexed, when do City taxes show up on property tax bills?
A: Under the current plan, not until 2020 (taxes payable in 2021).
Q: What services does the City provide to the areas that are annexed?
A: Upon annexation, the areas are generally assured of receiving City services in the same manner they are provided or made available to the City’s current residents and businesses. Enhanced services proposed for these areas include:
- City fire services, including more firefighters and new stations, with improved insurance ratings;
- City police services, including more police officers;
- City street maintenance, snow plowing, and storm water;
- City trash and recycling;
- Opportunities for transit expansion;
- Additional parks and trails;
- High-speed fiber-optic broadband access;
- Access to programming such as park services, Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND), Community and Family Resources Department (CFRD), Economic and Sustainable Development (ESD), etc.
City residents are also eligible to vote in all municipal elections, be elected to city offices, and to serve on a variety of appointed city boards and commissions.
Q: Will my sewer or water provider change with annexation?
A: No. The city already provides sewer and water to the annexation areas.
Annexation, though, would make sewer extensions easier for developers and property owners in the annexed areas.
Q: Will annexation change my zoning and land use?
A: No zoning changes are currently planned or anticipated. Annexation will bring the areas within the city’s zoning jurisdiction, and any zoning changes in the future would follow the normal rezoning process.
Q: How much land is the City proposing for annexation?
A: The total number of acres being proposed for annexation is 9,848. The approximate acreage for each annexation area is as follows:
- South-West Area – 5,113
- South-East Area – 2,876
- North Island Area – 110
- Central Island Area – 93
- South Island Area – 232
- Northeast Area – 557
- North Area – 867
Q: What is the total parcel count for the annexation areas?
A: The total number of non-right-of-way parcels is about 7,293. The total number of parcels including right-of-way parcels is 7,551.
Q: Will annexation affect where my child attends school?
A: Annexation will have no effect on school district boundaries, nor does it have any effect on where your child attends school.
Q: Who can I contact if I have more questions?
A: There is loads more information on the city’s website at bloomington.in.gov/annex. People also can contact Diane Daily, the city’s customer service representative, at (812) 349-3802, or visit the mayor’s office on the second floor of City Hall, located at 401 N. Morton St.