Potential amendments to Bloomington’s annexation plan on Tuesday special meeting agenda

Three different map amendments (numbered Am 02, Am 03, and Am 04) appear on Bloomington’s Aug. 31 city council agenda. The amendments would remove some parcels from the proposed annexation Area 2. Am 04 would remove all of the area proposed to be removed by Am 03, plus some additional area, up to the existing city boundary. (Dots on the map are based on the 2020 US Census count: 1 dot = 1 person) Images links to map of all annexation areas.

On the agenda for Tuesday’s special meeting of Bloomington’s city council are three potential amendments to the map for one of the proposed areas in the city’s annexation plan.

The only area that is subject to any potential boundary amendments put forward by councilmembers is Area 2. That’s the area that also goes by the label “South-East Bloomington Annexation Area.”

No modifications to the other seven separate proposed annexation areas appear on Tuesday’s agenda. Area 7, to the north of the city, was not expected to see any amendments, because the ordinance for Area 7 is almost certain not to win city council approval, based on a recent recommendation from mayor John Hamilton’s administration.

Also a part of the package of amendments to be considered on Tuesday are some changes to the ordinances for Area 2 and Area 1A, which would establish an “impoundment fund” and a corresponding advisory board for each of those two areas.

The three pieces of territory that are proposed to be removed from Area 2 involve two places on the map.

One of the amendments (Am 02), which is sponsored by councilmember Sue Sgambelluri, would remove just five parcels of territory, south of the bend where E. Rogers Road curves north to become Smith Road.

Another of the map amendments (Am 04), which is sponsored by councilmember Ron Smith, proposes to remove a block of parcels south of SR 46 on the west east side of town, including an area around Ridgewood Drive and Heritage Woods Road.

Focusing on the same spot on the map is an amendment (Am 03), sponsored by Sgambelluri, Susan Sandberg and Steve Volan. Am 03 would remove just a subset of the parcels in Smith’s amendment. Am 03 would leave an area for annexation immediately adjacent to the city.

The effect of annexing the immediately adjacent area, but not the area more distant from the existing city boundary, would be to form a kind of buffer against future annexation.

That’s due to the effect of a 2015 change to the state’s annexation law. The impact of the 2015 change means it’s not possible to add another annexation layer right on top of a previously annexed area.

In more technical terms, if a city completes an annexation after June 30, 2015, the annexed territory cannot be considered as part of the city, when it comes to a future determination about whether some additional territory shares enough of the city boundary that it can be annexed—unless that future annexation is voluntary.

If only Am 03 were approved, it still might be possible in the future to annex the territory that it excludes now. But that would require establishing a pathway to the city boundaries as they existed in 2015, to establish adequate contiguity. The state statute’s one-eighth shared boundary requirement for contiguity of annexed area works against an adequate geometry for that pathway.

Two amendments to be considered on Tuesday don’t involve maps. According to the state law on municipal annexation, an annexation ordinance has to include terms and conditions for impounding money in a special fund. Going into the fund are all of the city property taxes imposed on the annexed territory after the annexation takes effect that are not used to meet the basic services described in other parts of the state law—for at least three years.

The impounded property taxes have to be used to provide additional services that were not specified in the annexation plan, within five years after the effective date of the annexation.

The amendments considered on Tuesday would add impoundment funds and advisory boards to the ordinances for Area 2 and Area 1A. The other six ordinances already included the creation of an impoundment fund, according to information in the city council’s meeting information packet.

The seven-member advisory board that is established in connection with each impoundment fund has membership prescribed by state statute: the township trustee of the township with the largest number of residents living in the annexation area; the member of the county council representing the district with the largest number of residents living within the annexation area; the city engineer (Andrew Cibor); and four owners of property in the annexation area, two of whom are appointed appointed by the Bloomington’s mayor and two by the Monroe County county commissioners.

For Area 2, the relevant township trustee and county councilor would be: Perry Township trustee Dan Combs; and county council District 2 representative Kate Wiltz.

For Area 1A, the township trustee and county councilor would be: Van Buren Township trustee Rita Barrow; and county council District 3 representative Marty Hawk.

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