By Lois Mitino Gray
Looking to promote growth, The Mount Vernon Common Council voted to annex three areas to the city at its June 13 meeting. Former Evansville mayor Jonathon Weinzapfel of the law firm Baker Daniels of Indianapolis was on hand to assist with the annexation process.
Attorney Beth McFaddin Higgins said all three areas already receive city services. They are areas where the police and fire have responded in the past, the streets adjacent to them are maintained by the city, have municipal water and sewer service and more than likely trash pick up. All areas for consideration will be assigned to Council District No. 3, no new taxes will be incurred on the part of the city and there will be no capital costs.
The western most area is Lakeview, Section B Lots 12 –19. Once these lots are annexed, the entire subdivision will be in the city limits. The second area is Western Hills and Western Hills Country Club annexation. This will include the clubhouse, a barn and the manager’s house, but not the entire golf course. The final area they are looking at is the one residential home lot at the end of Westridge Drive. All three will be treated as separate annexations with three ordinances and three fiscal plans. The board approved all fiscal plans and ordinances on first reading.
Weinzapfel explained the process is designed to ensure ample time for notification to property owners. These should be fairly simple annexations, but the lengthy process could still take until May 1, 2014. The fiscal plans on how the city will provide services to these areas are already prepared. Council will then have the first reading of the ordinance of annexation tonight. Notice is sent to the owners and to newspapers and in sixty days there is a required public hearing. Thirty to sixty days later, they will meet to adopt the ordinance. Thirty days after that, it will again be published in the paper and there is a remonstrance period up to 90 days after publication. The 90-day remonstrance period ensures that property owners have every opportunity to be heard.
Weinzapfel added to be successful in remonstrating there has to be two-thirds of owners present or 75 percent of the overall assessed value has to be represented. They would need to get lawyers and file suit to challenge the fiscal plan.
Councilman Andy Hoehn inquired about Lakeview subdivision as it has no street lights. He does not want the city to be put in a position to have to provide them. It was pointed out that other comparable areas don’t have them either. Mount Vernon Mayor John Tucker added “the folks that live out there want to be in the city, but they have fields around them and they like to look out at the field and get the country feeling.” They do require that front yard lights be on at all times.
Ed Adams asked if the old Bill Keck Property located at One Old Orchard was still in the county. Attorney Higgins looked it up and it was annexed to the city in 1995.
Hoehn also asked about the unresolved east side 153 acres in the TIF area as there are no gravity sewers. He would like to see a timetable and possible funding options since there are some businesses in the area that have to use port-a-potties, such as Gottman. The area needs to be surveyed for services. Tucker stated that sewer Supt. Rodney Givens can get with Bernardin Lochmueller Associates on that. He added with the possibility of the new fertilizer plant on the horizon, it may cause upgrades in that area anyway. Givens was asked to have a report for next meeting after discussing payment to BLA with the mayor.
Economic Development Director John Taylor said the REDC is meeting and has hired legal counsel to talk about bonding and TIF districts for the proposed new fertilizer plant. Bonds will have to be sold by July 1, 2013. Tucker stated next Wednesday there is a meeting of the REDC at 8 a.m. and then the County Council will meet at 9 a.m. concerning the fertilizer plant. He stated that when there are big decisions like that to be made, a good turnout and show of support is always appreciated. Taylor believes this project could have as much economic impact to the area as Toyota did twenty years ago.
The Council appointed Michelle Hudson to the Posey County Economic Development Commission as that is back in action due to possibility of a fertilizer plant and the bonding issues that may be involved.
In other board action:
–the train tracks on West Fourth Street are getting pretty rough again and John Buchanan at Evansville Western has noticed the issue, too. He said the bigger trucks stop there to check for trains and push the asphalt up to the plates. Concrete would be a better fix. He suggested INDOT be contacted.
–new Street Commissioner Max Dieterle would like Council to get him a list of roads/streets/alleys they feel are in need of repair before the next meeting. He then questioned the survey on trash that was being done and said it needs to get going as there are packer truck issues. When asked, Dieterle replied one is down and other will go to the shop for repairs as soon as the first one is fixed.
–County Commissioner Jerry Walden was on hand and asked the Council to consider the Leonard Road area and Old Highway 62. He added it is a horrible intersection with pot-holes 12-16” deep and it is really bad. Once that road is opened up back there traffic will pick up even more.
–The board approved Ordinance 13-10 on third reading to rezone 901 Wolflin from RM to CG.
–Meeting as the Water Utility Board, Supt. Chuck Gray stated they have a water filling station next to the plant and he has noticed folks using chemical totes that are not food grade containers. He added that is a bad situation and someone could get sick. He is going to put signs up for the public. He stated his Operations fund is financially pretty good right now, and at the next meeting he will be looking to transfer some of that to his Improvement Fund to begin water main replacement. He added Barter and Second Street will be getting a new hydrant as well as one at the Landing. He stated he has materials to start on the Wolflin Street main and they will also be replacing about 300 feet of the water main on Mann Street.
Gray explained they have an issue on Farmersville Road. The water main is almost totally exposed from someone using a bulldozer to level the ground. Chairman Curtis added this main is the sole line proving service to the area north of there. This will be no easy repair, but corrective steps will be taken right away. The persons doing the dozing did a locate, but it did not tell them the depth involved.
By Lois Mitino Gray
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