Most of us Hoosiers will speak up when politics, religion, and food are on the table. Currently the freshest talk-fest in Johnson County involves whether or not Center Grove should become a town. While many don’t have a clear-cut opinion, several local residents recently shared their feelings.
Five years ago, Marianne Fischer moved with her family to the Center Grove area from Whiteland. While Marianne was surprised by Center Grove’s low property taxes, this was not the primary reason for the move. “I don’t pay too much attention to taxes unless they’re hefty.” In her opinion, a tax increase is a small price to pay for representation.
Former White River Township fire chief Howard Bennis notes, “If we don’t do something now to protect ourselves, there will be some future expansion by either Bargersville or Greenwood, especially when I-69 borders us.”
Offering a contrasting view, Ann Reaume believes “there is simply no advantage to Center Grove becoming a town. We have enough government without adding another layer.” She also cites town government may make changes people don’t want, like conversions from septic systems to sewers.
According to Ann, seventy per cent of those signing the opposition petition are retirees on a fixed income who are concerned about rising taxes.
Also questioning Center Grove’s advantage as a town, Marion Martin believes residents already feel a part of Greenwood and wouldn’t want to change addresses. She states the need for more details.
“The people who are not definitely against it would like more information. There are just so many questions unanswered.” (Editor’s note: The answers to many questions can be found on CitizensForCenterGrove.org or the new site TownOfCenterGrove.com. If you have questions, you can participate in the discussion on Facebook at www.facebook.com/C4CenterGrove.)
Greenwood resident Tia Nielsen, as an interested bystander, notes Center Grove has changed rapidly in the past 20 years and will continue to evolve, as there is no legal entity to “guard” the territory’s interests.
According to Nielsen, “In short, the door is unlocked and wide open. So, whether to become a town may not be the question. The question may be how much do Center Grove residents want to control the overall look, feel and costs of their future lifestyle?”
Residents need to understand determining a town versus a city is not based upon population. Rather it depends upon organizational structure. State requirements for a town include an elected town council with five people and a clerk/treasurer while a city requires a mayor and public works department. As an example of a large town is Fishers with 90,000 residents.
Johnson County commissioners have acknowledged receipt of the petition, but found a number of issues with its content and sent it back to C4CG for revision. There is also a conflict between the County and Greenwood on who should approve or deny the petition first. Within 60 – 90 days after the issues are resolved, the county will hold a public meeting, most likely at Center Grove High School.
Until then, the conversation continues. cg
Joyce Long, Greenwood Middle School language arts teacher from 1992-2000, has called Center Grove home for the past 25 years. Currently Joyce works as the communications coordinator for Center for Global Impact and is passionate about engaging people to empower the poor.