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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ind. Decisions - More on "Isn't Corydon a town, and not a city?"

Updating this ILB entry from yesterday, where a reader questioned the accuracy of the official captioning of yesterday's 7th Circuit decision as "Trent Marion v. The City of Corydon, Indiana ...," here is some useful information from the website of the Town of Clarksville, Indiana:

Often the designation "city" or "town" refers to the size of the municipality. In Indiana, however, the difference has to do with the structure of government. A town may not become a city if its population is less than 2,000. However, many towns in Indiana exceed this limit by a great deal and still remain towns. Clarksville, with its nearly 21,000 people, is the fourth largest town in Indiana.

The difference is that towns do not have separate executive (mayor) and legislative (council) branches. The town council is elected by the voters and, in turn, selects a member to be council president. The president officiates at meetings and performs some of the executive functions, but still maintains the legislative functions of a council member.

Questions are often raised whether it is more advantageous to be a city than a town. Sometimes day to day decisions that are often made by a may or, may be hampered with the town council form of government. The Town Manager Law passed in 1971 provides a solution to this problem. Revenues and grants are based on population and other factors, not the form of government. There are no strong advantages or disadvantages to city vs. town in Indiana. Both of the forms have produced efficient, well-run governments, as well as the opposite kind.

In 1980, legislation was completed to make Indiana a "Home Rule" state. Home Rule grants municipalities all powers granted by statute, as well as any powers not specifically denied by the Constitution of the State of Indiana or other statutes. This applies to towns as well as cities, and allows local governments to make decisions and carry out programs they feel are in the best interest of their communities.

The council serves as the legislative and executive body of the town. One of their members is voted by the council to serve as council president, who has the power to sign contracts, ordinances, etc., that have been approved by the board. The president also represents the council at government and community functions. Also, the council appoints administrative department heads, with one council member serving as a liaison to that department, rather than the council members acting as department heads.

Here is the website of The Corydon Democrat. No mention, at least today, of the "Town" or "City" of Corydon, no meetings of the town (or city) council reported, etc. From the "About Us" page, this:
The Corydon Democrat is located in the heart of Southern Indiana, 15 miles north of the Ohio River, in the small town of Corydon, Indiana's first state capital. The "Democrat" has been serving Harrison County since 1856, is an award-winning weekly newspaper, privately owned and published every Wednesday.
Finally, I've received this note:
Ms. Oddi: I’m working on a COPS grant for the City of New Albany and have to include the City’s GNIS ID number. Fortunately, DOJ explains that this is the Geographic Names Information System (I’m a City Planner and had no idea …).

After locating New Albany’s number, I checked for Corydon and, according to the USGS/GNIS, Corydon is a Town.

You can access the GNIS database here: http://geonames.usgs.gov/domestic/index.html

I followed the directions for COPS grant applicants. If you are searching for a place, be sure to set the feature to “civil” from the drop-down menu, otherwise the dB gets uppity and wants to know at what elevation the feature is located.

I enjoy your blog and find it useful in keeping up to date on COA and Supreme Court rulings affecting Plan Commissions and Boards of Zoning Appeals.

Scott Wood
Asst. Director
New Albany City Plan Commission

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 24, 2009 02:27 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions