Commentary by Jeff Papa
President, Zionsville Town Council
The proposed reorganization of Zionsville remains on the election ballot, and all voters of our town have a historic opportunity to express their opinion on Nov. 4. If approved by the voters, and upheld by the courts, the reorganization will allow Zionsville to remain a town and add a mayor (elected by, and responsible to, all citizens of our town). The plan also would ensure that our rural residents can maintain their preferred way of life, provide greater opportunity for citizen service on town boards and commissions by removing some unneeded geographic and political party restrictions, and addresses a cumbersome federal mandate. The plan eliminates four unnecessary government offices and professionalizes a fifth.
The alternative suggested by some – converting Zionsville to a city – is not a true option. The expense of expanding town police and street services to rural residents (and the tax expense to all residents) who are currently served for those purposes by the county, would be impossibly high, not to mention the loss of county-type rules in the rural district.
Adding a town mayor will provide an independent check and balance on the council, and will provide our town with a full-time advocate for improving our property tax base, responding to emergency situations, addressing citizen concerns, supervising our professional departments, attracting appropriate businesses, representing town interests regionally and beyond, and protecting our unique Zionsville identity and way of life.
These duties are currently carried out by seven part-time council members, most of whom have full-time day jobs. Zionsville is the largest town in Indiana geographically, is one of the very largest in population, and has more than 100 employees providing professional and emergency services. Our town councils have always worked very diligently, but it is time for a full-time advocate and leader to be elected by the entire town. Zionsville has a history of creating unique and innovative solutions, and this is one more great idea in that tradition. I hope you will support it by voting “YES” to reorganize the town on Nov. 4.