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?

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  • 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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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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