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Special Judge Expected To Rule Any Day On Bloomington Annexation Lawsuit

Mayor John Hamilton

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton Tuesday at City Hall (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

A special judge is expected to rule any day on Bloomington’s annexation lawsuit.

Brown County Magistrate Frank Nardi heard the case March 26th between the city and state.

A last-minute addition to Indiana’s biennial budget bill two years ago blocked Bloomington’s annexation plans.

City officials say it’s a clear case of the legislature overreaching. The state said the annexation plan was too large and didn’t give residents enough time to give feedback.

Mayor John Hamilton says the city was following the prescribed length of time to complete annexation.

“It was exactly what the legislature required," Hamilton says. "In terms of too much, there’s been bigger annexations in the state, we were in the middle of the process to do the annexation, it was shrinking as the boundaries were being changed.”

Hamilton says it’s illegal under the state’s constitution to single a city out with legislation.

He says city lawyers are doing the litigation so the city hasn’t had to pay an outside law firm to work on the case.

Hamilton says if the city were to lose, it would appeal to the intermediate court first and then to the Supreme Court.  If the city prevails, Hamilton says the state can skip straight to the Supreme Court.

“If the process had been allowed to run its course, we were only half way through a five month process, we would be well underway by now with a decision of what the boundaries of the city should be,” Hamilton says.

Hamilton announced in February of 2017 plans to annex nearly 15,000 new residents to the city as part of Bloomington’s first expansion in nearly two decades.

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