(La Porte, IN) - The 39 North Conservancy District says it’s way too early for La Porte’s mayor to declare any sort of victory if that’s what he’s trying to do in his annexation effort.
Mayor Tom Dermody said he has the necessary amount of signatures following a May 31st deadline and looks forward to partnering with the conservancy district board and residents to improve the infrastructure.
39 North Conservancy District Attorney Shaw Friedman said he hasn’t been shown any signatures from property owners asking to be annexed.
He also said signatures can be thrown out if deemed not legitimate during a review process and the amount could fall below the necessary threshold if enough are ruled ineligible.
Friedman said other requirements governing signatures must also be met.
“It’s not a simple question when it’s a hostile annexation,” he said.
In addition, Friedman said the city has failed to meet the demands outlined by the board for members to grant a consent to annex agreement.
One of the demands is for the city to grant a $2.5 million credit to district property owners on their water and sewer bills to compensate for the investment they made in having the water and sewer lines put in over 20-years ago.
Currently, the mayor's original $1.5 million offers stands at $2 million, he said.
“There are a number of items that have to be hit before anything can move forward,” he said.
Friedman said the state must also grant approval on a number of matters in any annexation effort before it can materialize in a process that could take years if there are disputes and litigation.
Friedman said the city has also not provided a fiscal plan as required by state law on how it’s going to pay for capital and non-capital improvements in the district.
“We can’t say there’s a deal in place when key elements are still missing at this point,” he said.