Westfield City Council again considering second-class city ordinance

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The Westfield City Council is considering a new plan to move the city from third-class status to second-class status more than a year after the governing body rejected an ordinance to make the change.

If approved at the council’s Nov. 13 meeting, voters in 2027 would elect a city clerk and two additional city council members—one at-large and another representing a sixth district. The move to second-class status would take effect Jan. 1, 2028.

Under the plan, the city’s clerk-treasurer position would be eliminated and a newly established city controller would be recommended by the council and appointed by the mayor.

The council voted 6-1 in June 2022 to reject a proposed ordinance to make Westfield a second-class city. Scott Willis, who will become Westfield’s next mayor on Jan. 1, 2024, was the only councilor to vote in favor of the move.

Westfield would have become a second-class city at the beginning of 2024 had the city council passed the ordinance last year.

When the new ordinance was introduced at Monday night’s meeting, Councilor Troy Patton said now is the right time to consider the move to a second-class city because it will give the new mayor, clerk-treasurer and city council a chance to plan for the change in four years.

Westfield will have new people in every position at the beginning of 2024. Along with Willis as mayor, Marla Ailor will serve as clerk-treasurer and the city will have seven new city councilors.

“I am personally for the second-class city knowing that we’re going to have a new administration,” Patton said.

Westfield is eligible to move from third- to second-class city status because it crossed the population threshold of 35,000 that Indiana communities must have to be considered for second-class status.

The city had just more than 21,000 residents when Mayor Andy Cook took office in 2008. Today, Westfield’s population tops 54,000. The city’s growth during that time coincided with increased development, including construction of the Grand Park Sports Campus, which opened in 2014.

Indianapolis is the state’s only first-class city, which requires a population of 500,000 or more. More than two-dozen cities in the state have second-class status, including three other Hamilton County cities that made the move in recent years due to population growth.

Fishers changed from a town to a second-class city on Jan. 1, 2015, after voters elected the city’s first mayor and nine-member city council in the 2014 election.

The Noblesville City Council voted in 2013 to upgrade to a second-class city, and residents elected the city’s first nine-member council and clerk in 2015. It officially took on second-class status on Jan. 1, 2016.

The Carmel City Council in 2016 voted to elevate the city to second-class status after previous councils twice rebuffed Mayor Jim Brainard’s proposals to upgrade the community. Voters elected a city clerk and two additional council members in 2019.

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