Town looks at land for growth

Nearly 50 property owners will be affected by Trafalgar’s decision to annex land that is expected to be developed in the future.

The town council wants to add more than 1,380 acres into Trafalgar, with most of the expansion going north of the town along State Road 135. The town wants to extend north on State Road 135 past the State Road 44 intersection, as well as bring in 128 acres west of town limits and 180 acres east of town along State Road 252.

Town officials want to annex that property because they expect Trafalgar will grow in the future, with more businesses and retailers coming from the north end of State Road 135, town council president Jeff Eisenmenger said.

Commercial properties have nowhere to go on State Road 135 but to come south toward Trafalgar, so the town needs to be proactive in annexing the land, he said. The town plans to annex the parcels officially by mid-September, and a public hearing is scheduled for May.

The town did not seek permission from property owners to annex the additional parcels. Residents cannot opt out of the annexation, because Indiana is one of two states in the United States that allows involuntary annexation. If residents do not want to be annexed into the town, at least 65 percent of affected property owners would need to sign a petition against the annexation.

If approved, the town would begin offering police protection and road maintenance within a year. Within three years, the town will offer winter plowing, road repaving, water and sewer hook-ups and street lighting to the newly annexed areas, according to the letter sent to affected homeowners. An estimated $61,000 worth of street repairs, reconstruction or snow removal will be needed for the Trafalgar street department’s budget starting in 2016 to accommodate the additional parcels.

Residents do not have to use the town’s water and sewer utilities, Eisenmenger said.

After the annexation, residents would have to pay the town’s property tax rate. This year, the owner of a $100,000 home will pay about $250 in annual property taxes, according to the Department of Local Government Finance tax calculator. Annexing the additional properties would bring about $39,680 into the town each year through property taxes, which would pay for the additional road maintenance and police services, according to the town’s fiscal plan.

The annexation would bring 72 parcels into the town, and town officials want to change the zoning on 44 of the parcels so they can be developed commercially.

Legislators are working toward changing the involuntary annexation rule, which would require towns and cities to get at least half of the property owners to agree to the annexation before it becomes official.

The bill also proposes a lower percentage of residents needed for a remonstrance, from 65 percent of property owners down to 51 percent.

If you go

What: A special meeting for the town annexation

When: May 13 at 6 p.m.

Where: Trafalgar Banquet Center, 109½ S. Pleasant St., Trafalgar

By the numbers

Trafalgar is looking to annex in three separate areas into the town’s limits by this fall. This would be the first annexation for Trafalgar in about 15 years, and affects 48 property owners.

Here’s a look at the affected annexation property:

Acres added to the town limits: 1,384 acres

Number of parcels: 72

Number of property owners: 48

Estimated miles of road added to the town: 3.71 miles

Estimated assessed value for the added property: $9,631,200

Estimated additional property taxes: $39,680

Source: Trafalgar fiscal plan that was mailed to affected property owners