LaPorte County community protests city annexation

NOW: LaPorte County community protests city annexation

LAPORTE COUNTY, Ind.— Some LaPorte County residents are banding together to try and stop the city of LaPorte from annexing their properties.

The 39 North Conservancy District, in between the city’s limits and the toll road, gets their water from the City of LaPorte, but now the city is threatening to take that service away, unless they officially become part of the city.

Some people who live in the area are ready to put up a fight to stop it from happening.

Mayor Tom Dermody received enough signatures months ago, to annex the district,

But still, not everyone is onboard.

One local business owner started a Facebook group to protest the annexation, garnering nearly 300 members.

Jody Slabaugh, owner of Gadget Fix Up on State Road 39, started a Facebook group to protest the annexation, garnering nearly 300 members.

"The people out here are pretty nervous. Parcel numbers are being changed already to change the county parcels to city parcels and the annexation isn’t even complete yet,” said Slabaugh.

He created signs that can be found around the area, that read “No City Annex”, concerned about heightened tax rates for businesses and homeowners.

"They say we have adequate water systems for what's out here, but not enough water for new development, and the people on our side say we don’t really want new developments. The people on our side say we like it out here the way it is, and we don’t want to be part of the city,” Slabaugh added.

The city says due to growth in the area, that it is no longer plausible for them to provide sewer and water services outside their limits, and residents and businesses would have to find a new water source if the annexation is not passed.

"Often times when you talk about annexation the main concern is taxes. As we went through the analysis of the area, we were surprised to find out most of the residents will actually save money. Businesses will see an increase, but they will receive services, water and wastewater, that they absolutely need to conduct business,” said Bert Cook the Executive Director of the LaPorte Economic Partnership.

The annexation also promises added public safety resources like more police officers and fire personal for the area.

That would cost 12 million dollars and some residents I talked to worry that will impact their taxes.

"These safety issues through the infrastructure are important to the city and important to those residents and businesses out there as well,” added Cook.

Friday morning, the Citizens Against Annexations attorneys and city officials will have a public meeting.

If approved, the annexation could go into effect by early next year.

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