To continually improve its competitive position on a regional and national level, the City will occasionally explore expanding through annexation. Annexation of adjacent areas allows the city to offer its services and infrastructure to a wider area, creating more opportunities for residential, commercial and industrial development.
Indiana Law: Indiana law (IC 36-4-3) specifies the methods and requirements that municipalities must follow in order to pursue annexation of contiguous territory. To meet the standards set out in Indiana law, voluntary annexations may take three to six months to complete.
When Services are Provided: Services of a non-capital nature will be provided within one year of the effective date of the annexation. Services of a capital nature, if applicable, will be provided within three years of the effective date of the annexation. View complete list of City services.
Fiscal Plan: The city prepares a fiscal plan in preparation for an annexation. The fiscal plan contains information pertaining to the unique situations of the annexation area under consideration.
Property Taxes: Property taxes will increase. When those taxes will become due is dependent upon the annexation’s effective date and the cut-off date established by the County Auditor's office for assessment of properties for the upcoming tax year. It is possible that full city taxes may not be payable until a year or more after the effective date of the annexation.
All St. Joseph County property owners pay state, county, township, school, library and airport property taxes. Those who live within municipalities also pay the municipal tax rates. Total tax rates vary depending on the township, school district, and library district that the property is in. City residents do not pay into the township fire rate funds because the City provides fire service. Property taxes represent the only tax increase related to annexation. There is no increase in income tax, vehicle tax, or any other tax.
Water and Sewer: Properties connected to the City's water and sewer system prior to annexation will see the 20% surcharge removed from their bills. In addition, trash service is provided to residents at a lower cost than provided by private haulers. Other costs may go down depending upon individual situations.
Zoning: Annexed properties will be zoned SF1 Single Family and Two Family Residential. Properties that were zoned other than "R" Residential (single-family) in the County will also be zoned SF1 Single Family and Two Family Residential. The City Code provides for a zoning plan to be submitted to the City Council by the Area Plan Commission. Properties that were legally used for other than residential purposes in the county will be considered as legal, non-conforming, until the approval of a zoning plan, if any.
Address Change: Addresses of annexed properties will eventually be changed to a four-digit number. The city will notify the property owner of the new number. It would be unlikely that the street name, Post Office designation or the zip code would change.
To learn more about the processes involved in annexing your property into South Bend, see the Annexation Procedures Manual.
Residents and property owners in annexed areas receive the same services as other residents and property owners within the city limits.
Police Protection: The South Bend Police Department will assume responsibility for providing police protection within one year of the effective date of an annexation. Generally, the Police Department will be able to respond to calls before the one-year date. The annexed area will be assigned to a police beat, patrolled 24 hours a day. The police typically achieve a response time of five minutes or less throughout the beat.
Fire Protection: The South Bend Fire Department will assume responsibility for fire protection from the township's fire department within one year of the effective date of the annexation. Generally, the Fire Department will be able to respond to calls before the one-year date. The department has firefighters staffing 12 fire stations, 24 hours a day. The firefighters typically achieve a response time of 5 minutes or less. The Insurance Services Office (ISO) has given South Bend a Class 3 fire protection rating.
In addition to firefighting capabilities, the department has fully-staffed medical response teams and four fully equipped ambulances. All fire stations have first responders. These firefighters are trained to operate defibrillators which greatly increase the assistance to heart attack victims. The department is also staffed with Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's), Advanced EMT's and paramedics.
Code Enforcement: The Department of Code Enforcement ensures the health and safety of residents through the systematic enforcement of city ordinances. Citizen complaints are investigated by a Code Inspector. In addition, inspectors assigned to specific areas cite violations as they tour their territories. The department inspects for unsafe, hazardous and substandard housing, abandoned vehicles, animal complaints and other assorted environmental and nuisance violations.
Residential Trash Service: The Bureau of Solid Waste is responsible for the collection and disposal of trash from residences throughout the city.
Fall Leaf Pick-Up: Bagged leaves are collected by the Bureau of Solid Waste during the entire month of November. The Bureau of Streets collects all leaves raked to the curb. Leaf burning is prohibited within the city limits. A yard waste recycling program is available to residences through the Bureau of Solid Waste.
Snow Plowing: The Bureau of Streets provides snow plowing. Major thoroughfares receive first priority, but city workers generally clear all city streets within 8 hours after a snowfall of 4 inches or less, and within 8 to 12 hours after a heavier snowfall.
Street Sweeping and Maintenance: The Bureau of Streets has a regular street sweeping program, and repaves and repairs streets as needed.
Sanitary Sewer Service: The City of South Bend has the capacity and capability to provide sanitary sewers to annexed areas. Requests for service are petitioned through the Board of Public Works. Residents would have to pay for this service. Connection to the public sewer line from the main structure would be the responsibility of the property owner.
Public Water Service: The City of South Bend has the capacity and capability to provide water service to annexed areas. Requests for service are petitioned through the Board of Water Works Commissioners. Residents would have to pay for this service. Connection to the public water line from the main structure would be the responsibility of the property owner.