Lawyers representing one of two groups of Howard County residents hoping not to have their land annexed by the city of Kokomo have filed a petition for a change of venue in their case.
Attorneys for the city had been granted a Thursday court date for a hearing designed to throw out the west side remonstrators’ case, but now it will likely be weeks before either side appears before a judge again. A similar petition was filed by remonstrators living on the east side of the city and it took three months before another judge was assigned to that case.
If the remonstrators can delay the annexation from going into effect before the end of the year, it might not go into effect until just before the end of the first term in office of the plan’s architect, Mayor Greg Goodnight. Since the law prohibits annexations during a year in which a national census is taken, the annexation likely wouldn’t go into effect before 2011. Lawyers for the city say the remonstrance must cease, because annexation waivers signed by homeowners negate the signatures of enough petition signees to drop the number of valid names below the 65 percent threshold needed for a court hearing on the annexation to proceed.
West side residents are seeking to have those waivers thrown out in court. Even if the case does make it to court, the remonstrators must still prove the city’s case for annexation harms them or causes them unnecessary financial strain in order for the process to be stopped.