Annexation.

Authors: Senator Philip Boots, Senator Randall Head, Senator James Buck

Co-authors: Senator James Smith, Senator John Broden

Sponsors: Representative Sharon Negele

Co-Sponsors: Representative Randy Truitt, Representative John Bartlett

Advisors: Senator Randall Head, Senator Greg Taylor, Senator James Buck, Senator Ron Alting

Digest

Provides the following for annexations for which an annexation ordinance is adopted after June 30, 2015: (1) Remonstrance petitions are filed with the county auditor (instead of a court). (2) An annexation ordinance does not proceed if at least 65% of owners of nontax exempt land or the owners of 80% of the assessed value of nontax exempt land in the annexation territory sign a remonstrance. (3) Provides that an annexation may proceed to a hearing if a petition for remonstrance is signed by at least 51% of the owners of land (excluding tax-exempt land) or the owners of 60% of the assessed value land in the territory (excluding tax-exempt land). (4) Eliminates a separate remonstrance for property that consists of not more than 100 parcels and is 80% contiguous to a municipality. (5) Requires a municipality to conduct an outreach program to inform citizens about a proposed annexation. (6) Requires a municipality to provide locations where remonstrance petitions may be signed. (7) Allows remonstrators that prevail at a hearing on a remonstrance to recover reasonable attorney's fees from the municipality that are incurred in litigating an annexation, including appeal costs, not to exceed $37,500. (8) Specifies the circumstances under which a public highway or rights-of-way of a public highway may be annexed. (9) Provides for municipal reimbursements to counties related to infrastructure owned by the county. (10) Provides that remonstrance waivers executed after June 30, 2015, expire not later than 15 years after the date the waiver was executed. Requires a municipality with respect to a deed recorded after June 30, 2015, to provide written notice to the property owner that a waiver of the right of remonstrance exists with respect to the property. (11) Requires a municipality to exempt property from property tax liability for municipal purposes while the property is assessed as agricultural land under the real property assessment rules and guidelines of the department of local government finance. (12) Requires a municipality to give notice of an annexation hearing to a landowner whose agricultural property is exempted from property taxes for municipal purposes. (13) Specifies the requirements for completing a remonstrance petition. Provides the following with regard to the elements that landowners must prove in a remonstrance hearing for the court to order an annexation not to take place: (A) Provides that a court may not consider personal finances or business finances of an owner or resident of land in determining whether the annexation will have a significant financial impact on the residents or owners of land. (B) Provides that proof of opposition to the annexation may be shown by the remonstrance petitions minus any written revocations of remonstrances that are filed with the court. Provides for an annexation for which an ordinance is adopted after December 31, 2016, that an annexation of land connecting an economic development project to a municipality may proceed to a remonstrance hearing even if the signature threshold is met for voiding the annexation ordinance. Removes an annexation procedure applicable only to a municipality in St. Joseph County. Allows only the owners of nontax exempt property to file a landowner initiated annexation petition that is filed after June 30, 2015. Requires a municipality to obtain the consent of the county executive before annexing property owned by a county redevelopment commission. Provides that fiscal plans prepared after June 30, 2015: (1) must be similar to plans required for local government mergers and reorganizations; and (2) may not be amended after a remonstrance petition is filed, unless the amendment is consented to by at least 65% of the remonstrators. Requires a municipality to notify video service providers of the addition of property to the municipality as a result of an annexation. Urges the legislative council to assign to a study committee the topic of the effect of SEA 330 on economic development projects.