Council votes down controversial annexation proposals

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ELWOOD, Ind. (June 30, 2015) -- It's an annexation attempt that some residents called sly and underhanded. Monday, Elwood's City Council voted down the annexation of roughly 550 acres. The decision came after months of discussion and debate.

It was standing room only Monday night as Madison County residents showed up to see if they'd be absorbed into the city of Elwood. The effort started in January, with the council admittedly pushing to beat a new state law.

"We were wanting to get out in front of Senate Bill 330," said City Council President Todd Jones.

That law goes into effect Wednesday, July 1st. It stops forced annexations in the state and requires cities to get support of affected landowners before moving forward.

Five areas could've been annexed Monday and all were voted down, some closer than others, to cheers from those watching.

"I'm in the country, and I wanted to stay in the country. I didn't want to pay the higher taxes, said Kay Walliser.

The city council held public meetings in recent weeks as those against the annexation rallied and put signs all over town. Some residents said their taxes would've tripled. The city at the end of a five year period would've netted $450,000 a year from the annexations, according to one council member.

"When your taxes double or triple, your property value goes down twenty or thirty percent by being in the city, who wants that," said Gary Ice.

"There were residents that couldn't afford any kind of increase whatsoever, because they were living paycheck to paycheck like many in this community," said Jones.

Jones said Elwood's performed voluntary annexations in the past, and that's what they will look to now.

Monday, many in the crowd said they were relieved, some even to the point of tears.

"I didn't know which way it was going to go," said Amy Catron, "I choose to live outside the city limits. I'm greatly relieved."

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