Pharos-Tribune

May 21, 2013

Annexation residents demand answers

Public forum fills Logan council chambers

by Mitchell Kirk

LOGANSPORT — A demand for answers was the theme from the twenty people who spoke at the public meeting regarding the city’s proposed annexation areas as they took turns addressing public officials and those they’ve hired to assist with the project at a packed Logansport City Council Chambers Monday night.

Logansport City Council voted in favor of a first reading of a measure annexing two bordering areas in Washington Township south of the city that include about 500 parcels and about 100 homes. City officials say the purpose of the annexation is to harness the economic development expected along the Hoosier Heartland Corridor.

An array of concerns was raised at the meeting, among them were areas they felt couldn’t be developed because of limestone and other factors, skepticism toward they city’s estimation that no extra fire or police protection would be necessary and a legal explanation as to why the city doesn’t have to install utilities in the area right away.

“When are we going to get some answers?” asked Alvin Mennen, a farmer who owns more than 130 acres of land in the proposed annexation areas.

“Answers!” several called out from the audience, followed by Mennen’s assertion he would remain seated at the microphone until he got some, which was then followed by applause.

Franklin said in an interview after the meeting that the purpose was not to provide answers, as this public meeting, required for all annexation projects according to Indiana code, was meant for citizens to ask questions so those working on the project can work to answer them.

“The meeting is intended for concerned citizens to be heard, not to provide answers tonight, but for them to be heard and we met the statuatory requirement by allowing the public meeting,” Franklin said.

Eric Reedy, owner of Reedy Financial Group P.C., which prepared the parcel-by-parcel financial impact report for the project, attended the meeting along with members of his staff. Jason Stephenson, an attorney with Indianapolis-based Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, attended as well. They took notes throughout the meeting and told those in attendance they would have answers to their questions prepared within a week. Franklin said answers would be mailed to residents in the proposed annexation areas and be available at the city’s website, cityoflogansport.org.

Lindsay Ruby, a Logansport attorney who has been hired by residents of the proposed annexation areas, spoke at the meeting as well. She listed several concerns that have been brought to her by her clients, among them how city ordinances would allow citizens to repair and replace their wells and septic systems and the possibility of an increase in taxes to support any incentives the city might want to give businesses to attract them to the area.

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