(La Porte, IN) - La Porte officials might cast a line with bait on the hook to try and expand the boundaries of the primarily landlocked city.
The city council Tuesday night was presented with a proposed ordinance aimed at making annexation easier. It’s part of Mayor Tom Dermody’s strategy for increasing the city’s population from about 22,000 to 30,000 by 2030. “This is something that’s necessary for our community to grow,” he said.
Under the measure, landowner owners outside of city limits would have to sign a waiver not to oppose any effort to annex their properties if they want to be connected to municipal water and sewer.
Bert Cook, Executive Director of the LaPorte Economic Advancement Partnership, said annexation would create new areas for development in a city with very little undeveloped land to build on. “We often talk about the need to grow our community. We have residential needs and industrial needs. This a huge tool for the city,” he said.
A vote on the proposal is expected at the next city council meeting on February 1. La Porte City Attorney Nick Otis said voluntary support from landowners is a critical factor now in annexation gaining final approval from the state. “It’s really, really tight now on what needs to be done to make it happen,” he said.
Dermody said the measure would also provide opportunity to outlying property owners unable to obtain water and sewer right now. Several years ago, a ban on extending municipal service outside the corporate limits was imposed to encourage growth inside the city. “We believe there’s some value to expanding our community and allowing non-residents to become residents,” he said.