Noblesville to join Fishers in ranks of second-class cities

November 27, 2013
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Noblesville’s days as a third-class city are numbered.

Common Council members voted 5-2 Tuesday to elevate the city’s status to second-class effective Jan. 1, 2016, after the next municipal election.

Fewer than two dozen Indiana communities carry the population-based designation, which calls for adding two seats to the seven-member council and dividing the clerk-treasurer’s duties between an elected clerk and a mayor-appointed controller.

“Having grown up here, it’s like, ‘We’ve come a long way, baby,’” Councilor Jeff Zeckel said before the vote.  

Noblesville passed the 35,000-resident population threshold years ago but officials decided not to reclassify the city at the time. They revisited the issue given the suburban community’s continued growth; it now has about 55,000 residents. (For more on city classes, see IBJ's Nov. 16 story on the topic.)

“We’re the county seat in the most lively county in the state of Indiana,” said Councilor Gregory P. O’Connor. “I think this is the right move to make at the right time.”

Neighboring Fishers is set to become Hamilton County’s first second-class city in 2015, when it completes its transition from a town. Carmel has no immediate plans to change its third-class status.

Indianapolis is the only city in the state that qualifies for first-class designation.

Supporters of Noblesville’s shift touted the additional representation that a larger council offers. One council district will be added, and voters will elect another at-large representative.

Councilors Rick Taylor and Steve Wood opposed the measure.

“It does create bigger government,” Taylor said. “But that comes at a cost, and that cost does not go away.”

What’s your take on the change? Does class matter to anyone other than elected officials?

  • Carmel, next first class city
    What you failed to mention is that Fishers will be Indianapolis's rival, when it is designated a first class city in its own right. After all, how many cities can boast the Palladium, Conner Prairie, city center, Arts Area, etc. All that is needed is an Art Museum of significant size and one professional sport, perhaps a Rugby Stadium, or perhaps, what if, a Professional Baseball Team. Hamilton County will surpass Indianapolis and Marion County by 2020 with more overall business parks, tech parks, research parks. With 31 being expanded, I69, Keystone, Allisonville, and a plethora of multistory office parks, it is only a matter of time before Lilly, Rolls Royce, Dow Agro, Covance, and many banks, insurance companies, etc. open their own facilities in Hamilton County. It will be the mecca of College Graduates and IT Companies, Biotech Companies, etc. I don't see Indiana Wesleyan in downtown Indianapolis, other Colleges, they are flocking with extensions to the North side for good reason, better access, educated population, etc. Soon downtown Indianapolis will be supplanted in numbers and in professionals in Hamilton County and North.

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