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Mayor's Veto
Executive Department, City of Indianapolis. Indianapolis, Ind., November 2, 1914.

To the President and Members of the Common Council, Indianapolis, Ind.:

Gentlemen - I return herewith without my approval Special Ordinance No. 6, 1914, the same being an ordinance entitled "An ordinance annexing certain territory to the City of Indianapolis, and fixing a time when the same shall take effect," the said ordinance being commonly known as the Broad Ripple Annexation Ordinance.

I regret that I cannot approve this ordinance, but am compelled to withhold my approval on account of what I believe to be for the best interests of the City of Indianapolis and also for the best interests of the residents and property owners of the territory sought to be annexed.

I do not favor the policy of making wholesale and irregular annexations to the city, regardless of the question of whether or not the territory covered is being used for residence purposes or farming purposes.

The ordinance in question attempts to extend the city limits northward a distance of about three miles. It includes all of the land lying between White River and the Monon Railroad, taking in the territory known as Broad Ripple and extending across White River north of Broad Ripple and including a narrow strip of land about three-quarters of a mile in length on the west side of White River north of Broad Ripple, and also taking in some irregular tracts of land upon the east side of White River lying to the east of Broad Ripple. Much of this territory covered is used for farming and gardening purposes and will not for many years be subdivided for city purposes.

One of the reasons especially urged for the annexation of this territory is that city improvements, such as sewers, streets and sidewalks, might be made. The most urgent question now presented in that regard is the construction of the large main sewer in College avenue running north to Fiftieth street, steps for the construction of which have already been taken by the Board of Public Works, and the petition therefor is now pending in the Circuit Court, in order that the territory outside of the present corporate limits of the city can be assessed.

The annexation of the territory covered by this ordinance will not aid in the matter of the construction of this main sewer, for the reason that much of the territory which will be drained by this sewer is omitted from the ordinance. The territory lying between Forty-sixth street and Fiftieth street and east of the Monon tracks over to the Fall Creek and White River Gravel Road should be assessed for the construction of this sewer, but it was omitted from the ordinance in question. Even with this territory annexed it will be necessary for the matter to be referred to the Circuit Court just as is now being done in order to assess this particular territory.

There are many miles of improved highway in the territory sought to be annexed which are now cared for by the County Commissioners out of county funds, and they are kept in good condition owing to the fact that the county has ample funds with which to do so. If this territory should be annexed it would be impossible for the city to care for these roads, which would then become city streets, owing to the limited funds available under the city's present financial condition. Not only would the duty of keeping these highways in repair fall upon the city, but the city would be compelled to care for the policing and lighting of all this territory which would result in a tremendous increased cost to the city's operating expenses.

As against this, the argument will be made that the city will receive the taxes for this territory. While that is true, all of this revenue would not proper maintenance of the highways, the lighting and the policing of this be sufficient to meet one-half of the increased cost to the city for the territory. The real result would be that the city would be unable to meet the tremendous increased cost on account of the taking over of this territory, and, the county being relieved from keeping the highways and bridges in repair, the highways would be poorly cared for, all of which would result in a general dissatisfaction among the residents of this annexed territory.

There is no real and good reason why Broad Ripple should be annexed to the City of Indianapolis. They now have a five-cent street car fare, with an organized municipal government to look after and care for the territory included in the boundary of Broad Ripple. Extending an imaginary line known as the city boundary around Broad Ripple does not bring that territory any nearer to the center of the city, and can result in no good to the territory unless the city is financially able to care for it and the property situated therein is adapted for early city uses. A number of persons have urged me to approve this ordinance, while a like number have also earnestly asked that I shall withhold my approval; but I have not allowed myself to be influenced by reason of the personal solicitation and personal interest of those who have talked to me upon this subject. I am only taking into consideration what I deem to be for the best interest of the City of Indianapolis.

There is no question that a large tract of territory lying immediately north of the present corporate limit of the city and extending up to Fiftieth street and extending as far east as the Fall Creek and White River Gravel Road could be very properly added to the city, because this territory is now readily adapted to city uses. This would enable the extension of the sewer system which is now contemplated.

Broad Ripple is a separate municipal corporation, and should not be brought within our corporate limits by merely extending a long, narrow strip to the northward for the purpose of taking it in, but should continue to conduct its affairs under its present government until the territory intervening has been abandoned for farming and gardening purposes and has qualified itself to become city property.

Owing to the fact that I earnestly believe the annexation of all of the immense territory covered by this ordinance in its present form would bring disastrous results both to the City of Indianapolis and to the people residing in the new territory, I am sure that this ordinance should not be passed at this time. I have become convinced that the greater part of the sentiment which has been created in favor of annexation has been created by the owners of real estate and real estate promoters, most of whom do not reside within the territory sought to be annexed. This interest should not be permitted to influence you in the consideration of this ordinance.

I therefore am compelled to return this ordinance without my approval, and earnestly hope that the members of the Common Council will agree with me in this matter.
Yours very truly,
J. E. Bell,