Fishers’ dilemma

August 15, 2008

Fishers, Ind., is still a town, but at more than 60,000, it’s already the eight-largest municpality in the state. It’s long past time for the town to become a city, many say, which would involve having a mayor instead of just a council. Not everybody is happy about the prospect:

As a town, executive decisions are reached in the council form by a seven-member body.
The town manager, Gary Huff, acts as chief executive, enacting the ordinances that the council passes.

Faultless said the council form of government works better than the mayoral form because it requires wide consensus. He said it helps maintain a consistent long-term planning over several administrations.

“The vision is that of a group of people, the council,” Faultless said. “No one person can decide what the visions will be. And it won’t be as likely to change every four years.”

But “a consensus based on seven visions” can easily become “nothing got done again this year” as the place gets bigger and more complicated to run. And it will get bigger — some expect Fishers to become the state’s third-largest municipality.  Changing to a city would also mean some council members would represent districts. Now, they’re all elected at-large. The bigger this “town” gets, the less represented residents are going to feel.

It’s nice that people still want to retain their small-town values and sensibilities. At some point, to have those, they’ll just have to move to an actual small town.


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