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Published: Friday, 1/10/2003

Napoleon eyes annexation of hospital land

BY KIM BATES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

NAPOLEON - This Henry County city has expanded in recent years to include 400 acres to the north, as well as land in its growing industrial park.

Now, city leaders are hoping to annex county property where the Henry County Hospital and its 200 some employees are located. The annexation would also keep 30 to 40 county health department jobs in the city limits, in the wake of a proposal to move their offices to the hospital campus.

City Council is expected to hear a first reading Jan. 20 of legislation to annex the acreage, which is east of town along State Rt. 424.

Napoleon Mayor Andy Small said the expansion is aimed at avoiding the possible loss of jobs and related payroll tax revenue to the city's tax base.

Mr. Small said the city started moving quickly with annexation plans after learning of a proposal to move the county health offices to the hospital site.

Mr. Small said city leaders are still researching how much more revenue could be generated through annexation.

Henry County commissioners are also reviewing the potential for city annexation, which caught them off guard.

Commissioner Rita Franz said the board of commissioners has been told the county health department wanted to move. But she said she didn't think it was a sure thing, causing her surprise at the city's swiftness with its annexation petition.

She said commissioners will begin researching annexation laws as well as the history of the county-owned property so they're informed if and when the city's request comes to the commissioners for approval.

Ms. Franz said the county bought the hospital property more than 20 years ago with proceeds from a levy.



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