SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTHI) - Sullivan, Indiana City officials and concerned citizens packed a crowded court house Thursday.
A judge heard arguments on whether the city should be allowed to annex itself into the county.
The city last month got clearance from a special judge to extend its bounds into the county.
And now, the city is asking for more county land.
For some people in Sullivan County, the issue isn't sitting well.
You could tell emotions were high on both sides today in the courtroom.
The room was packed and it was a pretty evenly divided match.
But in the end, it's really all up to one person, the judge.
"I feel like the city is trying to shove this down our throats. They don't listen to any of the business owners. None of our opinions matter. It's all about money. And it's all about Clint Lamb,” said Kenneth W. Plummer, business owner.
"Folks claim this is Clint Lamb's annexation, that's fine. I'll be the fall guy. But at the end of the day, this is half a century in the making,” said Sullivan mayor Clint Lamb.
Annexation, a sign of progress for some.
But for those at risk of merging into the city, it's a four-letter word.
Business owners say they have a lot to lose if the annexation hearing doesn't go the way they want.
Kenneth Plummer owns three businesses in the proposed annexation area.
He says this just isn't fair.
But Mayor Lamb disagrees.
He says all they're asking is residents that live right outside the city of Sullivan, that receive city police, city fire, city sewer, pay the same rate as every else.
"We're not asking industry we're not asking for businesses to pay any more, just pay the same,” said Mayor Lamb.
But Plummer said most of his services don't come from the city.
"The fact is Hamilton Township is the one paying for the fire department, paying for the services, paying for the gear,” said Plummer.
"It's pretty emotional. This has been a process going on for half of a century…If you're receiving the service, we just ask that you pay for it,” said Mayor Lamb.
Mayor Lamb claims he's not doing this for himself, but rather for the over 4,000 people that elected him.
"[I'm doing this] for all the previous administrations over that last 50 years that have been intimidated and bullied out of doing this, at the end of the day, the city of Sullivan comes first,” said Mayor Lamb.
"Money is behind the whole thing. Nothing else,” said Plummer.
The hearing will continue Friday in Sullivan.
We'll continue to keep you updated on the progress.
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