Bloomington to restart 2017 annexation process

Bloomington’s mayor John Hamilton used a 10:30 a.m. live-streamed video on Wednesday to announce the resumption of the city’s 2017 plans for annexation.

Image links to high resolution .pdf file.

The live-streamed announcement lasted under five minutes.

Based on city website material now posted on the topic of the resuscitated annexation effort, the same seven chunks of land that were proposed in 2017 for annexation will be under consideration now.

According to a press release issued during Hamilton’s announcement,  Bloomington’s city council is scheduled to review the updated fiscal plans related to the proposed annexations at a May 12 session.

Adoption of the annexation ordinances is anticipated sometime in September, according to the release.

Annexed areas would likely become part of the city at the beginning of the year 2024, according to Hamilton.

Clearing the way for the resumption of annexation plans was a 3–2 Indiana Supreme Court ruling in mid-December last year.

In 2017, the state legislature had passed a law, as part of the biennial budget that year, that had the effect of suspending Bloomington’s annexation process, which was then in progress.

Bloomington filed a lawsuit, arguing that the state legislature’s law was unconstitutional  and prevailed in the narrow decision handed down by Indiana’s highest court last year.

May 12 would normally be a night for committee meetings for the city council. Consideration of annexations would almost certainly be a committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Hamilton quoted city council president Jim Sims during his remarks saying, “As our population increases it is prudent that we regularly reassess Bloomington’s boundaries in the interest of maintaining the health of the greater collective community at large for the long term.”

According to the city’s press release, after the city council’s adoption of the fiscal plans, the public process would continue with re-sending formal notice to current property owners, and additional public hearings to review and evaluate potential boundaries.

A vote by the city council to approve and amend the annexation ordinances is anticipated in September, according to the release. The release says the annexation process will offer continued opportunities for re-evaluation based on public input, new information, and additional review.

Hamilton said that Bloomington has annexed property hundreds of times in the city’s history. It was previously somewhat routine. But no land has been annexed into the city of Bloomington since 2004, Hamilton said.

The land proposed to be added through annexation would increase Bloomington’s total area by about two-thirds. The added area amounts to 10,000 acres, which works out to 15.625 square miles, which would add to the 23.42 sq of Bloomington’s current land area.

Up until the time when annexations were paused in 2004, the efforts were more incremental than the one that Bloomington is now proposing.

Scanned from the three-ring binders on the shelves of the Indiana Room in the Monroe County Public Library, Bloomington’s proposed annexations for 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 are shown in this animation.




7 thoughts on “Bloomington to restart 2017 annexation process

  1. I doubt that he will pursue the same seven chunks of land since Area 6 was not approved for consideration by the council last time after receiving a petition asserting intent to remonstrate signed by 93% of the property owners.

    1. Jim, that is right; the Mayor is beginning with the ordinances that the City Council already passed, so Area 6 is not part of the consideration this time.

  2. I am hoping that 1B finally will be annexed. I would like city police, fire, trash, and the opportunity to vote in city elections.

    1. Annexation in this round is expected to result in the land becoming a part of Bloomington at the start of 2024, according to Hamilton. For you, Sue, that would mean: You can’t participate in city elections in 2023 (I assume that’s how it would work), but for the next four years would be represented by whichever city councilmembers get elected that year. Does that curb your enthusiasm at all, or do you just take that as part of the bargain—you have to start sometime?

  3. Voter avoidance is unchanged from the same intent in the original plan which would have dodged the 2019 election, intentionally delays the effective date by a year to avoid the 2023 municipal election, and results in denying annexed citizens the opportunity to hold Hamilton accountable at the ballot box.

    Maybe there is a rationale that is not readily apparent, but there is plenty of time and census data to allow council redistricting analysis and adoption so that annexed voters can demonstrate their appreciation or opposition in the 2023 city election. Has the administartion just been sitting idly on its hands in preparing for implementation while pursuing court rulings? There is no apparent reason why Hamilton cannot be ready to face the judgement of voters by 2023. After all, he’s been planning this since 2017.

    Perhaps this clear attempt to delay that accountability is finally the actual transparency longed for from this administration?

  4. Without going back to double-check, Wikipedia’s population and land-area numbers showed as of a couple years ago that Bloomington is the most densely populated city in Indiana.

    Is that because Bloomington is more built-up? No. It’s just that other Indiana cities have incorporated less dense suburbs as they grew, while the City of Bloomington hasn’t since 2004. Not sure why.

  5. The only annexation areas that make sense are 3, 4 and 5. How does the city plan to compensate the county for the massive tax base that is being taken away from the county?

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