Tuesday, June 19, 2012

After The Lawsuit, Now What?

When I joined the lawsuit against the Town of Fishers regarding petitions to become a city, my interest was not entirely towards becoming a city. It was about giving the people of the municipality the ability to vote on the question.

This year's ballot is going to have two questions on the ballot, the way the Town Council wishes to word them. They essentially go like this:

1. We're a Town now, should be become a City: yes or no?
2. If yes, should we become a City with a Mayor picked by the Council?

The first question is the big one for me, because a City form of government includes a mayor, no matter how you look at it.

My long-standing concern about Fishers becoming a City has to do exactly with adding a mayor, because the track record in Carmel and Westfield- two other Hamilton County former towns that are now cities- is less than impressive to me.

How can this be? All shiny and new? Here's how: Mayors have meant expensive, pet projects. Things that should better have been done by the private sector, and are now a huge drain on these cities. From Indianapolis Business Journal:

Carmel Mayor James Brainard wants to give the Center for the Performing Arts another $840,000 to cover its bills through December—on top of a $5.5 million subsidy he orchestrated last fall.

The latest grant is part of a resolution, which will go before the Carmel City Council Monday, to put $1.62 million into the city’s Support for the Arts Fund.

“We had a huge deficit,” Brainard said of the performing arts center, which is run by a separate not-for-profit organization. “Progress is being made.”

These huge shortfalls and subsidies were entirely predictable. It isn't the proper role of government to fund pet projects, but Republicans have proven clueless about this. 7 years ago, I and other Libertarians pointed this out. We were scoffed at.

But this is my point of resistance about supporting a City form of government that necessarily means a Mayor. For my gripes about Fishers, the fact is that the Town Council hasn't launched pet projects on the scale of the region's mayors.

h/t to Advance Indiana and this article about even the tenants getting subsidized!

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