BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A court order filed by a Monroe Circuit Court on Sept. 5 may have dampened Bloomington’s plans to expand its city limits.

The County Residents Against Annexation, Inc., a non-profit organization filed the “Motion to Stay on June 9.

The judge ordered that the current proceedings were halted or “stayed” until the “lawsuits involving the same parties filed by the city of Bloomington against the Monroe County Auditor have been fully and finally decided.”

The trial, originally set to begin on Nov. 13, was also vacated in the order last week. The order is likely to delay the city’s attempt to annex for years.

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton said in 2021 that the annexation was necessary because the people included in the land set to be annexed regularly use the city’s public services like roads, police and parks.

Hamilton said despite using these city services, however, these residents weren’t paying taxes to the city since they were only paying county tax dollars.

“Bloomington is now 203 years old and we’ve grown for 185 of those years but the last 17 years we haven’t changed our boundaries,” Mayor Hamilton said. “It’s a very natural process to keep expanding the boundaries to encompass the people who live in and around Bloomington.”

The annexation would add about 15,000 residents to the city of Bloomington and the city would grow physically by about 50 percent.

Diagram of annexation (City of Bloomington)

Following the Sept. 5 order, the mayor’s office released the following statement:

The City is disappointed by, and disagrees with, the judge’s order and is considering its options.  Beyond that, the City does not comment on pending litigation.

City of Bloomington

We also reached out to the County Residents Against Annexation but haven’t heard back.

A previous Associated Press article confirmed the attempts to annex the region have been going on for years but have hit several roadblocks including a 2017 state law Indiana’s Supreme Court found unconstitutional in 2020.

In November 2022, Mayor Hamilton announced he was not running for a third term so the new mayor could either continue the plans to annex the properties or look for new options to expand the city of Bloomington.

More information on the annexation can be found here.

This is a developing story.