The City of Fishers has grown exponentially since 2010, according to the 2020 census. The growth means that the Fishers City Council must redraw district lines before the next city election in 2023, but according to law, redistricting must be completed prior to Nov. 8 of the prior year.
City Attorney Chris Greisl presented the new proposed district lines and said that, per Indiana and federal law, the districts should be nearly equal in population, with the gap between the largest and smallest populations being less than 10 percent. Currently, without adjustment, the disparity between the largest district in Fishers and the smallest is about 30 percent, according to Greisl.
At the Sept. 19 city council meeting, the council was presented a new map of redrawn district lines. The presentation received mixed feedback from councilors, mostly because of the Gray Eagle subdivision being split into two districts.
Council member Brad DeReamer, who represents the Northeast District, said that he has heard from many constituents that they do not support the proposed map that splits Gray Eagle. He has submitted an alternate map that does not split the neighborhood.
“I think a subdivision should have the same representation,” DeReamer said. “If it’s split, then (residents are) going to have to depend on two people to try to get something done. And if one counselor agrees, and the other doesn’t, then you’ve lost the ability to negotiate with the council because now you’ve got one ‘yes’ and one ‘no’, so I just don’t think that’s fair.”
Council President Todd Zimmerman disagreed. He said having two councilors represent a subdivision might not be a bad thing.
“I do understand there could be confusion of, ‘Who do I talk to?’’’ Zimmerman said at the Sept. 19 meeting. “If there’s two representatives, you then have five individuals — two districts and three at-large (councilors) representing one neighborhood.”
Council member Jocelyn Vare, one of only two Democrats on the nine-member council, raised concerns that redrawing the map wasn’t a bipartisan process and requested easier access for the public to review the maps. For more, visit fishers.in.us/292/City-Council.
The deadline to approve the new city council districts is Nov. 8. The first reading was presented at the Sept. 19 city council meeting. It will go to the council for a final vote at the next council meeting set for Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. at Launch Fishers. If passed, the new map would take effect upon approval.