TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Almost 7,000 Tippecanoe County residents may soon become residents of West Lafayette under current annexation plans. Many don't like the idea.
West Lafayette city leaders want to use the new U.S. 231 corridor to drive economic development. Some homeowners in the area said they're concerned that their property taxes will go up, but the amount of services they will get in return will not be worth it.
"I moved out here to get away from West Lafayette and now West Lafayette's following me," said John Holladay, a Tippecanoe County resident.
After his property taxes skyrocketed in 1999, Holladay decided to move out of West Lafayette to Robinhood Lane. He's now concerned because West Lafayette's city council voted to move forward with annexation plans.
"The tax hike that we're seeing right away from this is probably only the beginning. I'm guessing they'll probably want to raise taxes again in another 2-3 years," said Holladay.
Like many outspoken residents in recent public meetings, Holladay doesn't think the extra services are worth the extra taxes. Whether it's snow removal or fire and police protection, they said they already have what they need.
"If you're going to pay more, what are going to get from it? From what I've heard, nothing that we don't already have so it's frustrating," said Scott Hinkel, another county resident.
The major neighborhoods included in the annexation are Wake Robin, Green Meadows, The Orchard, The Greens, McQueen Estates and Huntington Farms. Huntington Farms Homeowners Association President Tim Deno said after using the city's property tax calculator, he estimated that residents' property taxes in Huntington Farms will go up anywhere from 30-60 percent. He said that's a lot for already being satisfied with the county services.
"With Wabash Township Fire Department, we feel like we have excellent service. It might be nice to have police service a little bit closer to home, but the frequency of police calls in our neighborhood are quite minimal," said Deno.
At last week's meeting, the city council voted to continue the discussion about the annexation. That means getting out in the neighborhoods and talking to residents. Deno hopes changes will come of that. Mainly, he hopes the proposed map will get redrawn.
"Maybe consider dropping some of the western neighborhoods. We are the furthest west neighborhood on that map. So, if there are some portions that get cut off, I'm hoping that includes our neighborhood," said Deno.
And residents will certainly be keeping an close eye on those changes.
"It's not something I'm really looking forward to. Like I said, I moved out here to get away from West Lafayette," said Holladay.
West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis says city leaders will have meetings with the affected neighborhoods. He said because the annexation made it through the first city council vote, the city must mail out certified letters, keeping the people in the proposed annexed area informed. He said a second reading won't take place for another several months.
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