The Hamilton County Election Board agreed on Thursday to give residents of Fishers and Fall Creek Township the opportunity in November to vote on merging the two into a single city.
Appearing on the Nov. 6 ballot for those residents will be the question: “Shall the Town of Fishers and Fall Creek Township reorganize as a single political subdivision?”
“This is the first step in giving Fall Creek Township and Fishers residents the opportunity to determine the model of government that is most efficient and best suited for their community,” Pete Peterson, a member of the Fishers Town Council, said in a prepared statement.
An independent study group consisting of both town and township residents recommended in 2010 that Fishers merge with the township into a so-called modern-city structure. If approved by voters, Fishers could be classified as a modern city and would be co-governed by nine council members and a mayor.
Fishers does not have a mayor and instead has a town manager to oversee operations. The town manager position would remain in place under the modern-city proposal.
In March, The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of Fishers’ ability to reorganize with the township.
The decision stemmed from a lawsuit filed in federal court by three Fishers residents who contested the recommendation by the study group that would strip the right of voters to elect a mayor. Under the proposal, council members would appoint a mayor.
Opponents of the plan argued that Fishers would be the only city in the state with an appointed mayor.
In their decision, justices said state law allows a municipality to reorganize into a city even though the reorganization plan provides for a city council elected at large and a city mayor appointed by the council.
Fishers now has about 79,000 residents, making it one of Indiana's 10 largest communities and more than twice the size of any other town in the state.