August 8, 2012

Annexation the new huge issue

Where do we draw the line?

That’s the question city officials periodically determine as they consider the viability of the tax base within their city limits and the natural progression of community growth happening outside the boundaries.

During a 20-minute Logansport City Council meeting Monday night, the council approved an annexation feasibility study. How far that study will move toward extending the city limits is anyone’s guess, but the key word in this sentence so far is feasibility.

There also is a political component to consider. Expanding the boundaries in some directions will likely add more registered voters of one persuasion than another.

Some possible areas that will have to be considered:

1. Longtree Lane. The Eastwood area is outside the city limits. Since 1970, much of the annexation of Logansport has involved the area east of what is now the Manor Motel. The area includes the Logansport Mall, Cass Plaza and Eastgate Plaza. Annexation also could pick up the Point East area further east.

2. Marleton Hills. This may be the prime location for living outside the city limits in Logansport. It is minutes from Landis Elementary, Lincoln Middle and Logansport High schools. But a previous projection for returning the value on annexation to the city was more than 20 years. The “hills” part of Marleton Hills makes it a poor candidate because elevations require lift stations for utility lines, and that adds cost. Deer Run, a newer subdivision near Landis, also would be a candidate. It conceivably has fewer elevation issues, but has far fewer properties.

3. Logansport State Hospital. This is an easy target for city officials because other state hospitals like it have been annexed. Opponents of annexation for the hospital will say it has no property tax value, but it does have utility lines that could be extended further southwest and the city has used the wells for the Logansport Water Department since the 1990s. If state officials ever privatize the hospital, it would represent a huge bonus for the city. Annexing the hospital also would increase the population of the city considerably which would boost any federal or state grant funding based solely on population.

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