Former Geist opposition leader is new city council president


By Beth Taylor


In 2004, Geist-area residents faced annexation by the Town of Fishers, which would make property taxes for residents increase. For Pete Peterson, the reason to get involved with the Geist United Opposition group was purely an economical decision.

“I built a house in Geist and got a bad assessment. A week later, the town said that they were going to annex—so I would be paying more taxes on a bad assessment,” said Peterson. “That struck a nerve with me, and I got involved.”

After being part of the group for only six weeks, he was elected president of the group. Geist United fought the Town for five years until the Hamilton County Superior Court ruled on behalf of Fishers.

Because Peterson was the president of the opposition, he carried the message for the group. “I was being portrayed as a three-headed snake. And Scott Faultless had that same role as president of the Town Council on the other side,” he said.

When Geist was formally annexed in 2009, Fishers needed to add the area to a voting district. Peterson said 30 to 40 people asked him to run for the Town Council to represent the southeast district. “It was a close race against two other candidates, and I won by 12 votes the first time. But I won 80 percent of the Geist vote, which offset what happened in the rest of the town,” he said. Fishers continues to struggle with low election turnout.

As the council formed, Deputy Town Manager Scott Fadness was the first to reach out to Peterson. “He and I have a great friendship. I think he’s the perfect guy to be first mayor, and I put all my efforts into getting Scott elected,” Peterson said.

As the Town Council transitioned to the City Council, Peterson sought to change the indefinite term limits for the council president. Each City Council president will serve for one year. “I wanted to see this position rotate because it gives those who give their time a chance to lead,” he said. “Campaigns take a lot of work, so it would be great to let others bang the gavel.” After each president’s one-year term, leadership will meet and decide who should lead the council.

Peterson got involved in government for several reasons, but the main reason is personal. “I’ve got two kids I raise here. I believe that God put us on earth to leave it better than we found it, and that’s my main motivation for wanting to be here.”