NACS board unclear on Huntertown annexation
09 Aug 2022 — Journal Gazette
Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

Huntertown has asked Northwest Allen County Schools to voluntarily annex part of its property into the town, but board members Monday night said they aren't clear about the impacts and tabled it.

NACS' new superintendent, Wayne Barker, said school officials were told the town needs to have a continuous property line in order to annex new residential development. But to achieve that, he said, the district would need to allow the property of Carroll Middle and Eel River Elementary schools to become part of Huntertown.

Barker said he did not know the size of the land to be annexed, or which upcoming or existing developments were seeking annexation. A representative from Huntertown approached school officials with a proposal it wants the board to pass. But those officials could not attend Monday's meeting to explain it because of a schedule conflict.

The annexation of residential development would bring additional tax money into Huntertown. The annexation of the schools' land and buildings would not, as the properties are tax exempt.

Still, Barker said, "We're concerned. We want to be a good neighbor to Huntertown, but we want to know the financial impact to our school system, both short and long term."

Board President Ron Felger said the area is changing rapidly from farmland to houses. "It (the annexation) could have a big downside," he said.

NACS owns about 156 acres among Carroll Middle and Eel River Elementary schools, woods and wetlands, said Lizette Downey, spokeswoman.

Huntertown representatives have been asked to gather information and present it at the Aug. 22 school board meeting, Barker said.

In other business, board members took a similar stance on a proposal to provide right-of-way for a trail along Union Chapel Road from Coldwater to Corbin roads.

The proposal was tabled because board members wanted more information on what land would be used, where the trail might cross driveways or pedestrian walkways and signage. Board members said they wanted to view the areas in question.

Barker said he would arrange a workshop session so the board could get a firsthand look.

Barker, whose first day as superintendent was July 1, reported he has been touring buildings and meeting with staff in preparation for the first day of the new school year. School starts Thursday.

"I'm impressed with our facilities. I've learned we have great schools, great facilities and great maintenance," he said.

Many school buildings "do not look the age they are," Barker said.

This story is provided free courtesy of The Fort Wayne Newspapers.
"NACS board unclear on Huntertown annexation" Journal Gazette 09 Aug 2022: A1