The council table is about to get crowded as the size of local government may increase. City attorney Mike Howard presented an ordinance to the common council to consider changing Noblesville’s designation of a “third-class” city to “second-class” city at the Nov. 12 meeting.
Howard said the title change is allowed under state statute if a city has more than 35,000 people on the most recent U.S. Census and its council passes an ordinance to do so. Noblesville has grown from 28,000 to 53,000 within the past 10 years.
Howard the difference between the two classifications is a “broader representation” and an increase in the number of officials. A “second-city” has six districts and three at-large members for nine total members. It also has a clerk for record keeping and a controller (financial officer) who is appointed by the mayor.
“I have strong concerns about the cost to the city. Current cities in ‘second-class’ have economic situations that are not favorable. At some point that could happen here,” council member Stephen Wood said. “I see pros and cons, but I see more cons than pros.”
“I’d be careful to compare to other cities, they are different than who we are and what we are,” Council President Roy Johnson said.
Noblesville is one of six “third class cities” eligible for second city status. The others include Carmel, Columbus, Greenwood, Jeffersonville and Portage.
The common council will revisit the topic at a later meeting. If approved, Howard said the change would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2016.
“Second-class” cities have a population of at least 35,000 and up to 600,000 at time of designation, and have a nine-member city council and an elected clerk. Current “second-class” cities include Anderson, Bloomington, East Chicago, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Gary, Hammond, Kokomo, Lafayette, Lawrence, Marion, Michigan City, Mishawaka, Muncie, New Albany, Richmond, South Bend and Terre Haute. Indianapolis is the only “first-class” city in Indiana under state law.