ELKHART — Mayor Dick Moore won his request for $200,000 to study and prepare for annexation from the Elkhart City Council on Monday night, July 15.
But what appeared to be an easy decision for council members became more complicated after Moore admitted that Valley View is not part of the immediate annexation plan.
Three Republicans — David Henke, Mary Olson and Brian Dickerson — withdrew their initial support for the financial request after learning the city only plans to annex commercial property plus residential properties that would be otherwise landlocked as a result of coinciding commercial annexation.
The three said they were under the assumption that Moore’s annexation plan, which is not part of his compact sewer plan, would be comprehensive and include residential properties.
The council ultimately voted 5-3 on party lines to support the request, but then heard a bevy of complaints from businesses and others who have stood with Valley View.
Olson said leaving Valley View out of the annexation discussion was “offensive” and “discriminatory.”
Council members Dave Osborne and Brent Curry — both Democrats — suggested the immediate annexation plan represents the city’s priorities in picking up valuable commercial properties.
Curry contended Valley View, which has had a bitter and protracted dispute with city hall for many years, has indicated it was not interested in annexation.
Henke said he opposes the method of picking and choosing what areas that receive city sewer and water service will be annexed.
The council also attempted to move Moore’s proposal from a committee and back to the council, but the vote failed 4-4.
Brian Dickerson, who had earlier said he would support the move, voted against it because a fellow Republican, Brian Thomas, was absent.
Dickerson said he was under the impression that Thomas wanted to have a vote on the issue.
Meanwhile, council president Roy Troyer announced plans for a committee meeting Thursday night, July 18, in which the council will likely seek a recommendation or at least move Moore’s sewer plan back to the council for further consideration.
Troyer also announced plans for a special council meeting for Monday, July 22, in which the council could potentially vote on Moore’s plan.