The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Politics

June 21, 2013

Council majority shuns latest annexation discussion

Only two of nine members show for special meeting

ANDERSON, Ind. — 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 effort to extend Anderson’s boundaries down Interstate 69.

Smith’s goal with this latest, slightly smaller plan, was intended in part to give the city legal standing to challenge a blocking annexation plan approved by the Lapel Town Council last month.

It wasn’t to be.

Five City Council members must be present to transact official business; and only two were present, Anthony Bibbs, D-at large, and Russ Willis, R-District 1. They were the only two council members who voted for both of Smith’s first annexation proposals. Rodney Chamberlain, D-at large, voted for the southwest annexation, which foundered this past winter.

Reached by telephone 20 minutes before the meeting, City Council President David Eicks. D-at large, criticized Smith for calling it without first checking with council members to see if they would be available. Eicks was calling from Sweetser in Grant County.

”No one checked with anybody to see if anyone was available, which is sad,” Eicks said.

Smith was equally unhappy.

”I feel so compelled as mayor to look out for the best interests for the future of the city that I brought this up for the council to consider,” Smith said, adding that Eicks was aware of the legal deadline the city was facing.

He argued the issue is so vital to Anderson’s future that council members should have shown up to discuss the revised annexation plan regardless of any prior commitments and fulfilled their duties as elected public servants.

”Anderson may only have this one final chance to gain access to the remaining portion of I-69 between us and Indianapolis,” Smith said. “Although Lapel has moved to block Anderson’s ability to attract new jobs, I believe Lapel’s action fails to comply with Indiana’s annexation law.”

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