Ballard nixes new redistricting plan for Council

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Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard Friday afternoon vetoed a City-County Council redistricting plan, likely setting the stage for a lengthy court battle.

Ballard wants to stick with the lines drawn by Republicans in late 2011, before newly elected Democrats took control of the council. Ballard signed the current districts into law on Jan. 1.

“The maps that I signed into law earlier this year are legal, fair and compact,” he said in a statement announcing his veto of council proposal No. 372. “They have greater population and racial equality than those proposed by the council majority.”

Ballard’s veto was expected, since in June he issued a budget veto on $180,000 that the council requested to fund the redistricting effort. Council President Maggie Lewis predicted at the time that if the mayor continued his opposition, the issue would end up in court.

Lewis wasn’t immediately available for comment on Friday.

State law requires redistricting in the year after new Census data is released. Ballard believes he fulfilled that requirement by signing off on the current districts Jan. 1. Council Democrats say the districts fall short, because they don’t reflect the latest data.

The last time the council and mayor couldn’t agree on district boundaries, they were drawn by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2003. Those maps were “compact and fair and have drawn few complaints,” Julie Vaughn, policy director at Common Cause Indiana noted in a June 30 column for IBJ.

“It’s likely the Indiana Supreme Court will once again be the final arbiter on new maps, and that’s a shame,” Vaughn wrote. “If the court has to intervene, it will mean the two major political parties have put their squabble ahead of the needs of voters, and while that won’t be surprising, it will be disappointing.”

Also on Friday, Ballard vetoed a council proposal to use money from the sale of the city's water utility for public safety. Currently, that money can only be used on infrastructure.

"When the sale of the water utility was being discussed, I made a commitment to the residents of Indianapolis that I would use the revenue generated only for the infrastructure needs in our city,” Ballard said in the statement. “I intend to keep that commitment to the people of our city. Using one-time money for an ongoing expense is unsound fiscal policy.”


  • Nicely done
    Thanks Mr. Ballard for the veto. I love it. Thankfully we have a system that allows this. I expect more in the year to come - especially since we have a council that is so not special. Let's vote these people out next election.
  • Correct
    Sarah is right. This money comes from a 30 year loan Citizens took out to "buy" the water and sewer systems. Since Citizens is owned by the public, WE have to pay that 30 year loan back. Any improvements paid for out of the money should be 30 year improvements, things like fixing storm sewers. It should not be used to pave roads that last five years...maybe.
  • Streets that last forever?
    Mayor Ballard: “I intend to keep that commitment to the people of our city. Using one-time money for an ongoing expense is unsound fiscal policy.” Repaving streets, rebuilding sidewalks, and just about everything else this money is being spent on are also ongoing expenses.

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  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.