VALPARAISO | The City Council started the lengthy process of annexing the ALDI property Monday, approving a fiscal plan showing the city will reap about $140,000 in benefits from the move.
The 96-acre site at the northwest corner of Ind. 49 and Division Road is served by both city sewer and water. It is standard procedure for property owners receiving city utilities to sign a waiver they will not fight annexation when the city is ready to do so.
City Administrator Bill Oeding said news stories from 1992, when the property was developed, say such an agreement was signed but no copy of it can be found in city records. That has added to the complexity of the annexation, Oeding said.
The city started to annex the property several times in the past but never followed through. ALDI's has objected to the past annexations but has not said what its feelings are about the current attempt when notified last week.
"We've been wanting to do this for some time, but we've never gone through an involuntary annexation because it is a bit more in-depth and time consuming," Oeding said.
The supermarket chain is the only owner of the property, and the fiscal report estimates the city will receive $145,006 a year in property taxes and utility revenues. The city's cost of maintaining the road and providing police and fire service is estimated at $7,287.
The city's timeline for an involuntary annexation takes about 288 days, but the city hopes to shave a little time off the total by introducing it to the council Monday and at the Plan Commission level next month. The commission will recommend the zoning for the property and is expected to vote on its annexation recommendation Sept. 10.
The issue would then come back to the council for a final hearing and action Sept. 23. The remonstrance period and other steps that follow that would still take about five months to complete. Oeding told the council ALDI's doesn't have any tax abatements running under the county that would reduce the full tax amount.
A spokesman for ALDI's could not be reached for comment.