All eight annexation ordinances that Bloomington’s city council will consider on Sept. 15 include a date on which their affected areas become a part of the city: Jan. 1, 2024.
That’s less than two months after the next city elections for mayor, city clerk and city councilmembers.
If the effective date were set for Jan. 1, 2023, annexees would be able to participate in the ordinary democratic process for choosing local representatives.
The fact that new residents of the city would have to wait until 2027 to participate in city elections is a source of fair complaint. Even some Bloomington city council members have admitted they feel bad about it.
While the council could vote to amend the annexation ordinances to change their effective dates to Jan. 1, 2023, the council has shown no visible signs that it’s inclined to do that.
If the city council does not want to make annexees city residents in time to give them the right to vote in the 2023 municipal elections, then the council should at least allow future annexees to have some influence on the upcoming process for re-drawing city council districts.
At its Wednesday work session, Monroe County’s board of commissioners agreed on a resolution that will establish an advisory committee to guide its decisions on the redrawing of precinct and district boundaries for the county.
The upcoming work of potentially redrawing precinct boundaries—and possibly districts for county commissioners and county councilors—is prompted by the decennial census. That’s the same impetus for the redrawing of congressional and state legislative districts, which is currently underway.
Redistricting work on the local level can’t be completed until the state-level districts are drawn. If an existing precinct is split by a state legislative or congressional district, it has to be redrawn so that it is not split.
City Councilmember Steve Volan lives almost exactly in the middle of Bloomington.
The center of Bloomington’s area—the centroid calculated by a piece of geographic information software called QGIS—lies a few feet west of Indiana University’s Henderson Parking Garage on Atwater Avenue.