Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fishers-Geist Annexation News

Apparently, there is going to be a special Fishers Town Council meeting, tomorrow, Thursday July 12, at 8:00pm, on the issue of Fishers' attempt to forcibly annex Geist neighborhoods in Fall Creek Township. First thoughts:

Typical short notice on the special meeting. It seems Indiana municipalities are very fond of short and limited notice for special meetings. Is it that the Councils don't want attendance?

I am a Fishers resident who has been against the annexation from the beginning. Mainly, I don't care to have my Town's government growing. It will, as more area to manage means more employees and bureaucrats to govern. Also, I don't want the Town floating bonds against the increased assessed value that the annexations would create. Lastly, I thing it is wrong morally to forcibly annex non-municipal residents who chose non-municipal living into municipalities. If they voluntarily choose it- fine. Otherwise, leave 'em alone.

Here's text of an email I received from a Geist resident who is an opponent of the annexations:
I wanted to let all of you know that Fishers will be holding a special town council meeting Thursday, July 12 at 8:00 the Fishers Town Hall. They will be voting on whether to pull the 4 ordinances regarding the annexations in Geist. If Fishers pulls the 4 ordinances, they will then proceed to meet with individual neighborhoods to try to get them to agree to be annexed "voluntarily".

My belief is that Fishers Town Council members will try to tell people that due to the Carmel case, their goal to annex Geist is all but a done deal. To be clear, Southwest Clay lost to Carmel because of the deal that NOAX (the anti-annexation group) cut with Carmel. The State Supreme Court held that the agreement was binding because enough residents signed it that the remonstration effort could not reach its 65% threshold; therefore, Southwest Clay could not fight the forced annexation any longer. We should not make the same mistake. Fishers is trying a "divide and conquer" strategy. They are hoping to get enough people to get on board with them that The Geist residents can no longer reach the 65% threshold it needs to remonstrate. The FTC thought that we wouldn't be able to meet that 65% mark because of some sewer waivers that were in place. These waivers prohibit people from remonstrating. Even with the sewer waivers (assuming they hold up in court- which is very questionable), more than enough Geist residents are opposed to annexation that the 65% remonstration number can be met. Fishers was not counting on such strong opposition to annexation.

Fishers is hoping that if they offer enough tax abatements to Geist residents that people will give up and sign on with them. Keep in mind that there is a limit to how much tax abatements they can offer, and when that time is up, Geist will begin paying the Fishers municipal tax rate. With the recent increase in property taxes, another taxing entity is not something most of us need or want.

This is not a Fishers vs. Geist battle. It never has been. It is about not wanting a 22%+ increase in taxes to receive services we are already getting -and paying for. While it may appear to be great news that Fishers is pulling these 4 ordinances- it is only a temporary measure. They are waiting to see if they can get enough Geist residents to come over to their side. If they cannot, they will try forced annexation

Please consider doing the following 3 things:
1. Attend the Fishers meeting Thursday night and make your opinions known to the media that will be there.
2. Be very aware that Fishers is pulling a divide and conquer strategy. Please don't let them succeed!!!
3. Pass this message on to other neighbors in the affected Geist area

I am hopeful that I can attend and speak on the record on this issue.The new wrinkle to me is the idea that Fishers would grant tax abatements to the newly annexed Geist areas.

I am very much opposed to any tax abatements if an annexation occurs. That would mean that the existing Fishers residents would be subsidizing services to the Geist residents for the duration of the abatements, which is wrong.

This is the most senseless twist yet. The Town Council has long made the spurious argument that the Geist residents aren't paying their fair share, thus the impetus to annex. Well, if that's the case, stick to your guns! If they get tax abatements, they won't be paying their fair share!!!

This twist really reinforces to me the idea that the annexation is really about adding assessed value so that more bonds can be floated. That means more taxes over 30 years.

It's all bad government.


Anonymous said...

"This is the most senseless twist yet. The Town Council has long made the spurious argument that the Geist residents aren't paying their fair share, thus the impetus to annex. Well, if that's the case, stick to your guns! If they get tax abatements, they won't be paying their fair share!!!"

And Geist has countered by saying they already receive or don't want any of the services that Fishers provides. If that were the case, why did they agree to go down the "voluntary" road? Who's not sticking to their guns? If they really thought their remonstrance were open and shut successful, why were they even at the meeting last night? Sounds like some inner turmoil for the gUO. Seems that a while back somebody predicted that would happen...hmmm.

I agree though about abatements. Unless maybe the aprticular area needed some help on their sewer hookup cost. No sense in taxing an area that is unable to take full advantage of an important service like that right away.

Mike Kole said...

Why was GUO at the meeting? Because the decision affects their property. Why else?

Did Geist agree to go down any road? Or, did the Town Council? It has always looked to me that the Town Council has been acting, and the GUO reacting. Fishers initiated the ordinance, Geist residents reacted by forming GUO. With this twist, it will be no different.

I do think that, contrary to Mr. Easley's statement, the Town is in a weakened position. If they thought they could win the forced annexation they initiated, they would have simply carried through. Why deviate from a winner?