County Residents Report on Their Petition Drive to Stop Annexation

By Peter Dorfman

On Tuesday, August 3, County Residents Against Annexation sent the Mayor and the Common Council in Bloomington the following:

Memorandum for the Record:

County Residents Against Annexation is a group of County residents who
are circulating petitions among residents who have been targeted for
annexation, especially in those areas without an active group already in

The language we use on our petition is simple: “I intend to file a
Remonstration against Annexation”

Residents who have signed this petition are informing the City of
Bloomington that they do not want to be annexed into the City of
Bloomington. Here are the some of the results of our petition drive:

We have received thousands of signatures across each of the 8 annexation
areas. We have not yet had volunteers canvas all neighborhoods or
streets, but of the streets we have canvased, the vast majority of them
have a 90-98% signage rate.

It should be noted that our petition collection efforts have not ended, and
we will continue to have residents sign our petition up until the City Council votes on annexation ordinances. Prior to the City Council’s vote, we will provide them with the appropriate information relating to our collection efforts.

County Residents Against Annexation Co-Founders, Rita Barrow, Margaret
Clements, and Colby Wicker are willing to meet with any City Public Official who would like to hear more about our collection efforts and the stories we have heard from real people across this community. Those requests may be sent to

In conclusion, we respectfully request that our statistics become part of the public record. Also, after talking with thousands of residents and hearing their public outcry, we humbly request that the City Council votes to remove all eight areas from the enabling legislation for annexation. A speedy resolution of this matter will minimize the anxiety, cost, and time invested by property owners in these areas.

We appreciate your time and consideration.

County Residents Against Annexation

The City Council will hold its one official hearing on annexation on Wednesday, August 4, from 3:00 to 9:00 pm. I plan to attend at least some of it.

I think when CRAA delivers its survey, it will be clear that lot of county residents oppose this annexation. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, and not just because they’re going to be paying higher taxes and expecting nothing significant in return.

I heard from a lot of county residents during this year’s upzoning debates. The county was watching, even though the zoning change didn’t affect the unincorporated areas directly. People were interested because they had this annexation process coming at them, and they wanted to see how the Mayor, the planning department, the Plan Commission and this Council would conduct debate in the face of what they knew would be serious opposition.

In the planners’ initial presentations, Plan Commission debates and ultimately the Council debates, many county residents watched as Bloomingtonians criticized the proposed zoning changes, questioned the logic of the proposal, and called on commissioners and the Council to reject the upzoning.

Their arguments against it were articulate and well reasoned. Their tone was generally civil. And in almost every meeting they represented a substantial majority of the attendees — in at least one meeting opponents of the upzoning outnumbered supporters nine to one. But they were unable to move the decision makers to rise above the aggressive growth agenda of the Mayor and the Plan Commission, and the ideological biases of a slim majority on the Council.

This isn’t just about higher taxes for county residents. This is also about whether 14,000 county residents want to be roped into a city whose incumbent government makes the kinds of investments it makes — in armored riot vehicles and convention center capacity and parking garages and other white elephants — investments in which they had no say and for which they’re going to be forking over tax dollars to maintain for decades to come. It’s about whether they want to be subject to local government that disrespects its constituents the way it did during the upzoning debate.

We who live in the city now will have our ultimate say about this year’s controversies in the 2023 election, a little less than two years from now. Some of us are truly looking forward to that. But these people, the county residents the administration wants to to drag onto the city’s tax roll, will have no say in the Council’s decision until 2027, the first election year when they’ll be eligible to vote in a citywide election. These new constituents may never really get to express their feelings about the annexation, in the manner that the law reserves for us in a couple of years.

I’m in sympathy with anyone looking ahead to having taxation without representation foisted on them against their will. 

Here’s a useful perspective on the annexation from out in the county:

If you want to attend Wednesday’s meeting, you can go to City Hall in person or attend the meeting in person or via this zoom link:

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