Princeton, Baldwin returning to annexation talks

 

The city of Princeton and Baldwin Township are returning to the negotiating table in hopes of coming to terms on an orderly annexation agreement.

The city received a letter dated Aug. 21 from Baldwin Township Chairman Jay Swanson stating that it is the township’s desire to meet and continue discussions regarding the annexation agreement.

That letter was in response to a July 27 letter from City Administrator Mark Karnowski to the township stating that the city indefinitely tabled consideration of Baldwin’s annexation proposal.

The two government bodies have been meeting on and off for a number of years now as they try to agree on the parameters of how a township property owner might annex into the city limits to obtain city services such as water, sewer and even public safety services.

Former Princeton Mayor Jeremy Riddle authored an annexation agreement following a workshop between city and township leaders before leaving office on Dec. 31, 2012. Baldwin took that draft and made changes to it, which were then reviewed by city officials. That document was rejected by the City Council and the two sides have not met since.

Swanson, in his letter to the city, stated that the changes made to the Riddle document by Baldwin leaders were not very drastic and should not keep the two parties from working toward a future agreement.

Princeton City Councilmember Dick Dobson agreed.

“I’m of the opinion that we are close to an agreement,” Dobson said. “A couple more meetings with Baldwin should get us to where we can reach an agreement.”

Councilmember Thom Walker, who has been a part of the talks with Baldwin since the beginning, said he would be willing to meet with Baldwin officials.

“The only thing I’ll say is that we get close and then things change dramatically,” Walker said.

Princeton can go back and negotiate some more, Walker said.

“But I can’t say I share Councilmember Dobson’s optimism for where we are at,” Walker said.

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