Nikirk had ordered that the standard annexation trials for Area 1A and Area 1B would be delayed, until Bloomington’s related but separate litigation—over constitutional questions related to annexation waivers—is resolved.
In addition to the appeals process, the city of Bloomington has now started another procedure that could lead to faster scheduling of a standard annexation trial for the two areas. The idea is to take a step towards quick resolution of the related constitutional litigation—but just for Area 1A and Area 1B.
On Wednesday, Bloomington’s legal tactic was to file a motion to dismiss its own lawsuits for Area 1A and Area 1B, over the constitutional question of waivers.
In a June 6 court filing, remonstrators in Bloomington annexation Area 1A and Area 1B have argued for additional time to collect remonstrance signatures against the city council’s annexation ordinances, which were approved in September 2021.
The remonstrators’ basic argument stems from the fact that the COIVD-19 pandemic had caused Indiana governor Eric Holcomb to issue an emergency health order, which covered the time for signature collection.
The original 90-day window for remonstrance closed on Jan. 6 of this year (2022).
Area 1A is just west of Bloomington. Area 1B lies to the southwest.
In Area 1A and Area 1B, property owners in each area separately achieved remonstrance signatures from more than 50 percent of property owners, but less than 65 percent, according to the county auditor’s certified results. If signatures from 65 percent of property owners had been collected, that would have meant an automatic stop to Bloomington’s annexations of the two areas, without review by a court. But achieving 50 percent meant that Bloomington’s annexation ordinances for those areas were able to get a review by a court.
Listed as defendants are Bloomington’s city council, the city of Bloomington, John Hamilton in his official capacity as mayor of Bloomington, and Catherine Smith in her official capacity as auditor of Monroe County.
The two areas that will now get scrutiny by a circuit court judge are 1A just to the west of Bloomington and Area 1B to the southwest.