Goshen city officials meet with Orchard residents to discuss possible annexation

    City officials met with residents at the Waterford Mennonite Church to discuss what it would mean to them if they agree to be annexed by the city. 

    Posted on July 10, 2014 at 10:34 p.m.

    GOSHEN — Residents of the Orchard Subdivision were able to learn more about what annexation of their property to the city would mean for them during a meeting Thursday evening, July 10.

    City officials met with residents at the Waterford Mennonite Church to talk about the Orchard Economic Improvement District, which would include the annexation of the subdivision. 

    Residents of the Orchard Subdivision had sent a petition to the city asking for water and sewer services to be extended to their homes.

    Under an economic improvement district a commission is formed by residents in the subdivision and they work with the city for the services that the community might need.

    In order to establish an Economic Improvement District a petition must be signed by the majority of the owners of real property within the district and the petition owners of real property must constitute more than 50 percent of the assessed evaluation in the proposed district.

    During a presentation, Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman told residents it is not the city’s intention to annex the Orchard Subdivision without the community’s support, — mainly because the city would have to pay for the extension of services to the annexed area. 

    "It is not the city’s responsibility to pay for these services," he said. 

    The only benefit to the city would be to have orderly growth if other areas south of the Orchard subdivision were to be annexed to the city, Kauffman said. 

    The total cost of the project is estimated to be $7.6 million, of which the economic improvement district would pay $5.9 million. Residents in the subdivision would have to pay $125 each month for 20 years. 

    The city would install water and sewer services in the subdivision and bring other services as well, including police, fire, trash pickup, brush and leaf collection, snow plowing and a tornado siren, if it is needed. The residents in the subdivision would have to follow city ordinances.

    Some residents voiced their opposition to the annexation. Many residents cited the additional cost it would be to them as a concern. 

    “There’s a lot of cost that comes with annexation,” said a resident in the audience. “There are things people don’t think of until they get a bill.”

    The Orchard Subdivision is north of Kercher Road, between C.R. 21 and the Elkhart River, and roughly south of C.R. 36.

    Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Sharon Hernandez on Twitter at @Sharon_HT

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