The debate over Indianapolis City-County Council districts may need to be resolved in court, council President Maggie Lewis predicted Friday, after Mayor Greg Ballard vetoed an ordinance that would have funded redistricting.
The Democrat-controlled council was seeking $180,000 to redraw lines that the outgoing, Republican-led council approved in December. The mayor, a Republican, approved the redrawn districts on Jan. 1, 2012.
"The City-County Council legally and fairly redistricted earlier this year,” Ballard said in a statement issued after his veto on Friday afternoon. “As the city works to erase an estimated $47 million budget shortfall for 2013, this proposal was an unnecessary expenditure of taxpayer money."
Lewis said the council is pushing the issue because state law requires redistricting in the year after new Census data is released. She believes the mayor’s signing off on new maps, which don’t reflect the latest data, fails to fulfill that requirement.
Lewis said she plans to reach out to the not-for-profit Common Cause for technical assistance on creating new boundaries. If the mayor rejects the result of that work, the issue probably will land in court, she said.
Will the partisan divide on redistricting spill into other city issues?
Lewis said she’s trying to avoid escalation. “I don’t want to go tit for tat,” she said. “I want to be a partner with the administration. I don’t want to not move our city forward over the next four years.”