By Zach Osowski
The Herald Bulletin
---- — INGALLS — The annexation debate in southwestern Madison County became a little clearer after an Ingalls Town Council meeting Monday night.
The council, at the advice of the engineering firm tasked with designing and implementing the annexation, decided to drop several homeowners out of the proposed annexation.
The homeowners being dropped all live east of Indiana 13 and north of Interstate 69. Most of them have publicly stated they don't want to live in Ingalls and would rather live in Pendleton. That led to Pendleton starting an annexation on some of the property Ingalls was planning on annexing.
Ingalls Clerk/Treasurer Kip Golden said the council decided to drop that section in part because it didn't want to deal with the lawsuits or remonstration that could follow.
"It was recommended this be done due to the battle that might follow an annexation," Golden said. "We thought the best course of action would be to take them out."
West of Ind. 3, Ingalls still plans on annexing up to County Road 700 South. Golden also noted the state land east of Ind. 13 and north of I-69 would still be part of the town's annexation, including Newco Metals Inc. That will still give Ingalls the land off of Exit 214 in case new businesses come in.
Golden said some members were concerned about the cost of adding all those new houses and roads under the town's protection. He said it would be very expensive to maintain some of the county roads east of Ind. 13.
Ingalls will also still annex the Pilot Travel Station that sits just west of Ind. 13. The annexation process for Ingalls originally began when Pilot asked the town to run water lines out to the station.
Although adding more land after the annexation process had already begun would result in a town having to start all over again, Golden said detracting land doesn't reset the process.
"Our attorney told us we are OK to drop land, as long as we don't add any," Golden said.
Ingalls has held a second reading on the annexation ordinance and Golden said the council plans to do the final reading during its April 14 meeting.
Pendleton's annexation, which stretched west all the way to Ind. 13, will still conflict with Ingalls over the state land. Ingalls, however, is much further ahead in the annexation process. Pendleton still has several months to go before a second reading is even possible.
Pendleton Town Council President Robert Jones said he was not aware of this recent development and did not have a comment.
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.
What's next Ingalls has already held a public meeting and read the annexation ordinance twice. The next step will be a final reading making the annexation official. The meeting will be Monday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ingalls Town Hall.