A majority of the property owners must be in favor before an area could be annexed by a city or town, according to a bill that passed the Indiana Senate last week.
Under Senate Bill 94, municipalities would have to get approval from at least 51 percent of property owners or those owning more than 75 percent of taxable assessed value of the land to annex property after April 30.
Once city officials have the required signatures, local courts would have to hold a hearing to review the proposed annexation.
The bill passed the state Senate, 36-13, on Monday. Among area lawmakers representing portions of Monroe County, state Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, voted no. State Sen. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, voted yes.
State Sen. Phil Boots, a Republican lawmaker from Crawfordsville and one of the bill’s authors, said the purpose of the legislation is to give residents a voice regarding their property. He said residents impacted by city and town annexation attempts did not elect the officials who are seeking to incorporate their property.
“(This bill) gives people back the right to representative government,” Boots said.
Political representation was one of Monroe County residents’ concerns when city officials attempted to annex 9,500 acres in 2017. As part of that proposal, residents would not have been able to vote in city elections until 2023, even though affected landowners would be paying higher taxes due to being annexed starting Jan. 1, 2020.