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July 9, 2013

Narrow council vote OKs annexation

Questions over stormwater and fiscal plan still remain

Logansport City Council narrowly opted in favor of annexing two areas south of the city in its final vote on the matter Monday, but will still have to adopt a fiscal plan and address if residents of the annexation areas will have to pay stormwater fees.

Since February, when city officials began discussing annexation, they have said the motivation behind the initiative has been to harness projected economic development along the Hoosier Heartland Highway.

There was division among the council since its first vote in March, which went through unanimously. The approval Monday squeezed by with a 4-3 vote, with council members Jeremy Ashcraft, Chuck LaDow and Teresa Popejoy dissenting.

“I do not feel all of the answers have been secured at this point in time,” Popejoy said, adding that she supports economic development in Logansport and feels annexation would help draw in this development, but didn’t feel it would be fair to the residents of the annexation areas until all questions are answered.

Several of these questions were brought up at the council meeting, one of which had to do with how utilities would be extended to the annexed areas.

While water and sewer lines are not required to be run out by the city, residents of the annexation areas would have to pay for them to be extended, should they desire them, said Jason Stephenson, an attorney with Barnes & Thornburg out of Indianapolis who is assisting the city with the initiative.

When it comes to stormwater fees in the annexation areas, however, city officials and Stephenson were unable to answer whether or not the city would charge for such services, although Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin expressed his desire not to do so.

“It would be my intent to veto any measure that would charge you for water that’s not going into city sewers,” Franklin told a resident of one of the annexation areas at the council meeting Monday.

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