The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Anderson Annexation

March 9, 2013

Editorial: On balance, annexation in community’s best interests

Forced annexation is almost always painful. People living in unincorporated areas often enjoy lower tax rates and purposefully reside outside of municipalities for the relative peace and quiet of country living.

But cities and towns, to remain healthy, sometimes have to seek new territory. Populations shift and dynamics change, forcing officials to took to annexation for solutions. So it is with the City of Anderson’s current attempts, dubbed Anderson Fast Forward, to annex two areas — 17 square miles on the southwest side of the city and four square miles to the northeast.

The first area represents a future boon to the community, stretching as it does to the north side of Interstate-69 at Exit 214. Properties in this area, no doubt, will grow in value as the years pass, the population of the greater Indianapolis area continues to expand northward and developers seek prime real estate along a well-traveled path between Indianapolis and communities such as Anderson and Muncie to the northeast.

The second annexation area, on the city’s northeast side, would bring about 2,000 new residents into Anderson, thereby stabilizing the local tax base and providing revenue as the city waits for development to take hold in the southwestern annexation region.

While it’s understandable that many property holders of each annexation area have serious doubts about being pulled into the city, on balance, the annexation would be good for the community as a whole. Anderson, as the county seat and by far the largest community, remains the bellwether for progress — or decline — in Madison County. Generally speaking, what’s good for Anderson is good for the county as a whole, and what’s bad for the city is bad for the surrounding region. The city’s economic struggles over the past three decades have led to population decline, loss of tax base and loss of influence in the state and in the Midwest.

Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith has noted that if Anderson doesn’t annex the area along I-69 at Exit 214, someone else will. That someone would likely be another Madison County community — Pendleton, Lapel or, perhaps, Ingalls. Each of those communities has advantages to offer, but none can muster the resources that Anderson would bring to bear in developing the southwestern annexation area.

It’s true that the city will face stiff challenges to its annexation efforts. Litigation is sure to follow and, already, a group of Lapel property owners has banded together in an attempt to block Anderson’s effort in the southwest (find article posted Friday at Their super-annexation effort might be a game changer. If not, the Anderson annexation process could be still be long, costly and painful. But if the city’s annexation plan proves foolproof, then the cost of litigation will be minimized and the annexation, in the long run, will be well worth the effort.

Valid concerns also swirl around the expanding geography of Anderson. Exit 214 seems far removed from downtown Anderson, and the farm properties surrounding it have little in common with the commercial and residential areas of the city. But that will all change as property owners near Exit 214 cash in on development and businesses spring up across the landscape.

Some worry, too, that the administration of Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith is motivated to annex in the southwest by overblown concerns for the Nestle production facility at Exit 222, which covets better access to I-69 that the annexation could satisfy. While Nestle is certainly worth considering, the square mileage to be annexed to the southwest offers so much more than better interstate access for a single company; it offers the potential for the attraction and development of dozens of other businesses.

While the Smith administration has made every effort to maintain that higher taxes will be offset by improvements in police, fire and utility services, as well as lower fire insurance premiums, folks in the annexation areas may have good reason to believe that they won’t come out ahead financially. Again, it’s understandable that they would oppose annexation.

But for the overall good of the community, these annexations would make Anderson stronger and would ultimately help raise the quality of living in the area by bringing jobs and generating more money for the improvement of streets and other infrastructure.

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Anderson Annexation
  • Pendleton holding annexation meeting

    A public meeting will be held Friday night in Pendleton to discuss possible annexation of land near exit 214 on I-69, making the town the fourth entity in the last year to express interest in the property.

    February 20, 2014

  • NWS - HB0208 - city annexation - JC 3.jpg Council majority shuns latest annexation discussion

    A special meeting of the City Council called by Mayor Kevin Smith to consider a revised annexation proposal failed for lack of a quorum Thursday, a result that may have ended the mayor's is effort to extend Anderson's boundaries down Interstate 69.

    June 21, 2013 1 Photo

  • Anderson mayor says southwest annexation back on the table Mayor Kevin Smith plans to resurrect the so-called southwest annexation that was part of an annexation plan rejected last winter by Anderson City Council.

    June 18, 2013

  • NWS - HB0222 - Lapel - JC 1.jpg Lapel officials move forward with super-voluntary annexation

    The Anderson City Council killed Anderson Fast Forward last month, but a proposed super-voluntary annexation designed to keep Anderson at bay is moving ahead.

    April 4, 2013 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0315 - city council - 31 - DK.JPG Council members: Annexation failure could foster cooperation

    In the end, there was probably little chance Mayor Kevin Smith’s expansive Anderson Fast Forward annexation proposals would be approved. They were large, complex, costly and controversial from the outset. Thursday night, the City Council rejected both plans.

    March 16, 2013 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0315 - city council - 31 - DK.JPG Council votes down annexation efforts

    The Anderson City Council on Thursday night rejected Mayor Kevin Smith’s Anderson Fast Forward Annexation proposals. The vote on the proposed northeast annexation was 7-2; the vote on the proposed southwest annexation was 6-3.

    March 14, 2013 3 Photos

  • NWS - HB0208 - city annexation - JC 1.jpg City Council could decide annexation questions tonight

    There has been a month of intense public discussion about Anderson Fast Forward, Mayor Kevin Smith’s proposal to annex nearly 21 square miles of new land into the city. Tonight, the question of how, or whether, to move forward with that plan once again falls on the shoulders of nine members of the Anderson City Council.

    March 13, 2013 1 Photo

  • William-Anderson---Stop-Dump-sign-3a-crop.jpg Anderson annexation: Question one

    With Anderson City Council set to consider an ambitious annexation plan Tuesday, questions abound about the short- and long-term impact of the plan abound. Key among them: What impact would annexation have on the Mallard Lake landfill?

    March 9, 2013 1 Photo

  • Aerial I 69, Exit 14-2.jpg Anderson annexation: Other key questions

    The City of Anderson is proposing to annex more than 20 square miles of property, most of it giving the city more access to Interstate 69 to the southwest and a smaller portion on the northeast side of the city. Here are answers to 19 other key questions.

    March 9, 2013 1 Photo

  • I 69 and SR 13 area biz.jpg Debate rages over Anderson’s proposed annexations

    “Anderson Fast Forward is the largest public policy proposal the city of Anderson has been engaged in since 1957,” Mayor Kevin Smith told The Herald Bulletin’s editorial board recently. He calls it a defining moment in charting the city’s future.

    March 9, 2013 1 Photo

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