By Ron Bluemer
For the NewsTribune
HENNEPIN — Hoping to entice more businesses to consider locating near Hennepin, the village board proceeded with the initial stages of an annexation plan. The potential addition to the village involves 2,200 acres when the old steel mill property is included, according to village engineer Bill Shafer.
Although the village already has been involved in the creation of an enterprise zone, the goal is to now create a Tax Increment Financing district to attract businesses.
The village needs to take the lead by first annexing additional property.
Mayor Kevin Coleman already has been in talks with Putnam County Board chairman Duane Calbow about this action.
“He understands the need for this,” said Coleman.
The mayor said the village trustees would have to decide what property would be annexed and hold public meetings. The process might take 4-5 months.
“We’ve got to get started,” Coleman said.
Village attorney Roger Bolin pointed out some of the hurdles to overcome. For instance, the village can’t voluntarily access a parcel larger than 10 acres. Agreements have to be secured from the property owners.
After the village passes an annexation ordinance, it is sent to the circuit court to be reviewed and approved.
If the court concurs, the ordinance is sent back to the trustees.
If there is an objection by one or more of the property owners, they can be heard at a circuit court hearing.
A referendum may be forced upon the trustees if 10 percent of the voters in the previous election object to the annexation, according to the attorney.
If there is no request for a referendum, the land would be annexed.
Bolin laid out the initial steps the steps to be taken. First, he said the board needed to identify the real estate that would be annexed. Next, the property owners should be personally contacted by the village administration.
“I haven’t talked to anybody about this,” interjected the mayor.
If annexation is achieved, the mayor indicated they would look at establishing a TIF district.
To facilitate such a move, Coleman recommended talks with Herb Klein from the office of Tom Jacobs.
The mayor plans to set up a meeting for the trustees with Klein.
Coleman told the trustees the property being considered for possible business expansion is “the focal point for a lot of large firms.”
There have been several inquiries, but the companies are interested in properties within a TIF district, Coleman said.
The trustees concluded their discussion over costs, property boundaries, and road maintenance responsibilities with a decision to approve the annexation initiative.
- Shafer will provide estimates for street work planned for the spring
-Village zoning officer Larry Brown reported he has been “in contact with Mr. Drummond” regarding the sale of his property. “We’re going to try to hook him up with a prospective purchaser, said Brown.
-Coleman called attention to the school safety forum to be held at the high school at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30 in light of the recent shootings at schools. He recommended attendance for anyone with kids in school. The mayor felt the meeting should put people at rest and end anxiety issues of parents.