The remonstrance period for county residents impacted by annexation is over.
Jim Inman Photo: City of Bloomington
Those opposed to becoming part of the City of Bloomington gathered on Thursday, January 6 at the Monroe County Courthouse and shared preliminary results of their efforts.
The Community Residents Against Annexation were joined by the three county commissioners for the announcement. Margaret Clements is the president of the CRAA.
Clements shared that all seven areas of the county to be annexed have gathered enough signatures to challenge the city.
Indiana law states that if 65% of landowners remonstrate – or formally protest annexation – then the annexation is invalidated for that area.
If 51% of landowners remonstrate, then the process is handled through the court system.
Catherine Smith, Monroe County Auditor, and her office are reviewing the petitions and validating the results. She said Thursday evening that her office should have numbers soon to formally announce.
Mayor John Hamilton is proposing bringing in 8,300 acres of land and more than 14,000 residents from the county.
Even if the signatures are validated, there could be more challenges in the process. Hamilton says an Indiana law that retroactively nullifies annexation waivers is unconstitutional.
Two men involved in a July 2020 altercation at Lake Monroe may avoid a trial.
Sean Purdy and Jerry Cox have been accused of attacking former Bloomington resident Vauhxx Booker, with claims that the men threatened to lynch Booker.
Purdy and Cox will complete the restorative justice process, rather than go to court. If the process is completed, both men will avoid charges of criminal confinement, battery and trespassing.
Vauhxx Booker, who is Black, posted video clips of the confrontation to social media from July 5, 2020. Booker said the men shouted racial slurs and threatened him.
The story became national news in the days after. Purdy and Cox were charged, and ultimately lawyers tried to use restorative justice to resolve the situation. Booker initially agreed to the process – which typically involves the parties from both sides meeting to determine a resolution – but stopped in July 2021.
Booker has been charged with misdemeanor trespass and battery since the initial situation.
The second attempt at restorative justice will be done separately this time, according to special prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp. That means as long as an individual completes the process, he will have all charges dropped.