Annexation and Senate Bill 94

A new senate bill is working its way through the Indiana General Assembly that would change the way municipalities annex land. Senate Bill 94, authored by Senators Philip Boots, R-Crawfordsville, Randall Head, R-Logansport, and Blake Doriot, R-Syracuse, would apply to annexations for which an annexation ordinance is adopted after April 30, 2019. The bill sets forth steps for annexation that, instead of requiring citizens to sign petitions against annexation, call for the annexing municipality to “file a petition with the court signed by at least (A) 51% of the owners of land that is not exempt from property taxes in the annexation territory or (B) the owners of more than 75% in assessed valuation of land that is not exempt from property taxes in the annexation territories.” If the proper signatures are acquired, the court will review the proposed annexation. The bill eliminates the remonstrance process and voids remonstrance waivers.

Senate Bill 94 also details a process by which municipalities introducing an annexation ordinance would be required to conduct an “outreach program” to inform citizens of the proposed legislation. If SB 94 becomes law, municipalities will be required to conduct at least three, and up to six, public information meetings, providing citizens with maps of proposed boundaries, proposed plans for extension of services in the annexation territory, expected fiscal impact on taxpayers, and notice of dates, times, and locations of all outreach meetings.

The bill has been met with mixed reviews, some calling it representative government at work, and others calling it a hindrance to municipal growth. After passing in the Indiana Senate 36-13 in February, the bill moved to the House for consideration. As it currently stands, the bill has been recommended to be assigned to an interim study committee. In the house, Senate Bill 94 is sponsored by Representatives Kevin Mahan, R-Hartford City, Jeff Ellington, R-Bloomington, Robert Cherry, R-Greenfield, and Sharon Negele, R-Merrillville.

S.B. 94, General Assembly, First Regular Session 2019 (Indiana 2019).


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