Zionsville Times Sentinel

February 7, 2013

Residents: Leave us alone

Opposition to plan voiced at meeting

By Matt Werner
Zionsville Times Sentinel

Zionsville — Worth Township residents made the journey to Zionsville Town Hall Monday, Feb. 4, to speak their minds about the proposed annexation of eastern Worth Township.

The Zionsville Town Council listened to the comments of several Worth residents who seemed to all agree — they want to be left alone.

Melissa Garrard, an attorney representing the Spalding Family Limited Partnership that owns three parcels in Worth, gave the strongest comments of the night.

“Simply put, my clients object and intend to litigate if Zionsville continues towards forcible annexation,” she said. Garrard said that her clients prefer to be annexed into Whitestown.

“Whitestown has a more diverse tax base than Zionsville,” she said. “Whitestown is also offering a three-year tax abatement on all properties and an additional 10-year abatement for all agricultural land.”

Worth resident Paul Carpenter-Wilson asked the council to reconsider annexing the area.

“I don’t want to be annexed, and I feel that you do not meet the requirements for annexation,” he said. “Our area is not needed for the future of Zionsville. You said that you don’t plan to change the police and road services. Worth (Fire Department) can serve us within a 3.25 mile radius. All three of Zionsville’s stations can’t cover us within the same radius. Annexation does not benefit us because we would be getting less service than we are now.”

Whitestown annexation scorned at hearing

Six words summarize the feelings of most people at a public hearing Friday, Feb. 1, about Whitestown’s proposal to annex all of Worth Township now outside the town limits, and a part of Perry Township as well.

“We want to be left alone,” said Clint Courtney, a rural Fayette resident who joined about 75 people at the hearing, held in the Whitestown Fire Department’s chilly truck bay while fire engines idled outside.

“There’s nothing that Whitestown can offer us that we don’t already have,” Courtney said.

A petition presented to the town council meets all the requirements to bar the town from annexing the section of Perry Township it’s targeting, one resident said.

The petition had signatures from 34 of the 42 homeowners, representing 91.9 percent of the land in the property, said Bev Ramsey.

At a Jan. 3 meeting with Fayette and Perry Township residents, State Sen. Phil Boots said those figures were “more than enough to stop” the annexation, Ramsey said.

“You are not bad people; you are just trying to make a bad decision in forcing people to be annexed,” Ramsey said. None of the 97 total persons who attended three separate meetings in November, December and January at the Perry Township Fire Department station in Fayette wanted to be annexed, she said.

Whitestown’s perceived inability to improve civic services already provided or available was a common theme at the hearing.

“You’re not offering us anything other than higher taxes,” said Rebecca Merritt.

The county already provides police protection and road maintenance; the Perry Township Fire Department provides fire protection; residents who don’t have municipal water and sewers are on wells and septic systems. Ramsey said property owners would be charged higher insurance rates as well, if the town’s plans to shift fire coverage were realized.

Courtney and Merritt both criticized Whitestown’s police department for what they considered over-zealous patrolling.

“You’re going to have your police fleece us as we drive up and down our roads,” Merritt said, drawing murmers of agreement.

“It’s kind of hard to understand how they can hand a ticket out in a 40 mph zone, and yet you see them flying up and down the same road at maybe 50, 60 mph,” Courtney said.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for more on both these stories.