STATEHOUSE — State Representative Sharon Negele (R-Attica) sponsored a bill to help strengthen communication between municipalities and the landowners of a proposed annexed territory. Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 330, cosponsored by State Representative Randy Truitt (R-West Lafayette), was signed into law by the governor.
SEA 330 requires municipalities to publicly inform and engage the community through an outreach program at least six months prior to a proposed annexation. This will ensure that landowners receive timely and accurate information before any action is taken. Municipalities must also conduct at least six public information meetings, in which they provide citizens with maps of the proposed annexed territory, future plans for capital and noncapital services and the expected fiscal impact on taxpayers.
“Indiana belongs to a minority of states that permit municipalities to conduct involuntary annexations,” said Rep. Negele. “This legislation would require municipalities to engage in open discussions with landowners before proposing an annexation while also making remonstration less burdensome. This will ensure that municipalities are more transparent with their proposed annexation and that landowners have a voice in the process.”
Additionally, this legislation requires at least 51 percent of the owners of non-tax exempt land to sign a remonstrance petition in order for an annexation to proceed to a hearing. If at least 65 percent of the owners of non-tax exempt land sign a remonstrance petition, then the annexation process would cease from proceeding. The bill also allows landowners, who win a remonstrance hearing, to recover up to $37,500 in attorney expenses.
“The goal of this legislation is to foster communication between municipalities and landowners before a proposed annexation can move forward,” said Rep. Truitt. “We have consulted with numerous families and organizations that have expressed concerns about involuntary annexation, so this legislation does not only works to address this issue, but empowers Hoosiers by giving them more control over the process as well.”
To learn more about SEA 330, please visit iga.in.gov.
Rep. Negele (R- Attica) represents a portion of Benton, Fountain, Jasper, Montgomery, Newton, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties. She serves on the Ways and Means and Financial Institutions committees.
Rep. Truitt (R-West Lafayette) represents portions of Tippecanoe County. He is a member of the Government and Regulatory Reform, Local Government and the Ways and Means committees.