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Wednesday, December 31 2008

The annexation of part of Knight Township will be taking place soon. This became official when a group remonstrating against the annexation dropped their lawsuit.

The proposed annexation area is bordered by Morgan Avenue to the north, the Lloyd Expressway to the south, the Vanderburgh County line to the east and Royal Avenue to the west. As per Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel the annexation is good news for the city of Evansville and the residents in the annexed area who will now benefit from city services.

Knight annexation official

Evansville's first significant annexation in 20 years became official Tuesday when a group remonstrating against the plan to bring a heavily commercial area of Knight Township into the city limits dropped their lawsuit.

The Eastside Taxpayer Annexation Group accepted an offer from the city to phase in property taxes over a three-year period. The city also will provide $300,000 in traffic signal and street illumination improvements.

"This is good news for residents in the annexed area who will now benefit from city services, and good for city residents who should see city tax rates go down," Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel said in a statement. "This annexation also allows the boundaries of the city to expand with the tremendous economic growth we are experiencing in Vanderburgh County."

The proposed annexation area is bordered by Morgan Avenue to the north, the Lloyd Expressway to the south, the Vanderburgh County line to the east and Royal Avenue to the west.

The 1,514-acre tract includes the Burkhardt Road commercial district of 1,379 residents. The city would extend fire and police services to the area, which would consume the bulk of the $572,148 projected in annual operating expenses to provide all city services.

The city is forecast to receive $2,176,428 in annual property tax revenue from the area.

Currently, fire and police services are provided by the Knight Township Volunteer Fire Department and Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department.

Michael Schopmeyer, who represented the Eastside Taxpayer Annexation Group, said in a statement that the property tax phase-in will save property owners $4.2 million.

"While this taxpayers group accepted this settlement, many expressed their detest for the city having stated that this annexation might not result in any tax increases for these taxpayers and their businesses," he said.

Schopmeyer has said property owners in the affected area will experience a property tax increase by as much as 30 percent.

Weinzapfel has disputed that estimate, saying any increases will be offset by House Bill 1001, Gov. Mitch Daniels' property tax reform legislation. The legislation caps property tax liabilities in 2009 at 1.5 percent of assessed value for homeowners, 2.5 percent for agricultural properties and 3.5 percent for commercial properties. Those caps will decrease by half of 1 percent in 2010.

"Our small family business, along with others in this area, made some of the region's largest capital investments to create the fastest-growing and most attractive commercial centers in the region," Tom Dersch, one of the remonstrators, said in a statement.

"Such investments were made based upon budgets set to lower county, not city, tax rates. As developers and taxpayers, we paid for the roads, landscaped larger green spaces and installed the water and sewer improvements, all at substantial personal cost. Those investments enabled this area to prosper as an impressive gateway.

"It seems plainly unfair for the city to now come in after the fact and impose on us 40 percent or more in new future property taxes without adding any better police, fire, road maintenance or other essential services. Growing small businesses, not the government, should be our focus. As new city taxpayers, we will remain vigilant in seeing that after annexation the city serves this area sufficiently to justify this huge tax increase."

Weinzapfel also wants to annex a more northern section of Knight Township and land on the city's West Side that includes a heavily commercial area west of Red Bank Road. Both of the fiscal plans for those annexations include the construction of fire stations. Each would cost $1.6 million, according to the plan.

The last major area annexed by the city was commercial and industrial land south of Lynch Road and east of U.S. 41 in 1988.




Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:45 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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