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May 2, 2013

Annexed ag land exempted

Consultant to present impact on parcels next week.

LOGANSPORT — Residents opposed to Logansport’s annexation plans say they still have concerns after the recent passing of an amendment in the Indiana General Assembly restoring a 10-year municipal tax exemption for agricultural land annexed into cities.

This piece of legislation has been a concern of Logansport City officials, as the city council has voted in favor of annexing two bordering areas in Washington Township south of the city that include about 500 parcels and about 100 homes. The council hopes to harness the economic development expected along the Hoosier Heartland Corridor.

“Our goal in these annexations is to encourage economic development along the Heartland Corridor,” said Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin in a press release. “This legislation gives us a tool to shape those annexations in a way that reduces the impact of annexation on these property owners.”

One of the concerns that has been raised by those against the annexation is that the tax exemption would only apply until annexed agricultural land is sold, in which case it would lose its agricultural zoning identity and the exemption would no longer apply to the new owner.

Randy Head, Logansport city attorney and a state senator who supported the amendment as it made its way through the Senate, said this is not the case.

“As long as the land is classified as ag, the exemption will remain,” he said.

Lisa Hanson, a Washington Township resident who opposes the annexation, said she was glad to hear of the exemption, but other concerns remain.

“As far as the agricultural tax exemption goes, this is a good thing for the agricultural landowners,” she said in an email. “With that being said, there are still more annexation issues, other than taxes, for all the landowners that are within the proposed annexation area.”

At a meeting last month made up of Washington Township residents opposing the annexation, residents voiced concerns as to how their taxes would be affected and what several described as an inherent desire not to be a part of the city.

Indiana Code states opponents must present objections from 65 percent of the affected landowners to delay a proposed annexation.

Mike Shaver, president of Wabash Scientific, Inc., was hired by the city to consult on the annexation. He will present findings on the financial impact of the affected parcels in the city’s proposed annexation areas to city council at 5 p.m. May 9 in the City Council Chambers on the third floor of the City Building, 601 E. Broadway. The meeting is open to the public.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.

 

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