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Schererville’s growth means little change to districts

Updated: January 15, 2013 11:24AM



SCHERERVILLE — Outside of two precincts likely being eliminated, the town’s redistricing has no effect on voters, town officials said Wednesday night.

The Town Council at its Wednesday night meeting voted 5-0 to approve the new redistricting map, an exercise all municipalities are required to perform every 10 years by the state. Local redistricting is performed during even years, said Town Council President Tom Schmitt, D-4, while federal, state and county redistricting was completed last year.

For many municipalities, redistricting can affect political parties by concentrating voters in a particular ward even if a town’s redistricting can’t conflict with other redistricting boundaries. For example, state redistricting will allow District 15 state Rep. Hal Slager to represent the town as a whole, whereas from 2001 to 2011, five representatives each had a piece.

Schererville councilmen, however, serve at-large, Schmitt said, so all town redistricting does is move people into different districts.

“There’s no perk to it,” Schmitt said.

Some of those districts are more compact this time around, said Schmitt and Councilman Mike Troxell, who led the charge. The town’s population grew to 29,243, up from 24,851 in 2000, so the average ward population is 5,847. Growth in Schmitt’s ward gave him 160 more people, or 6,007; Republican Councilman Jerry Tippy’s Ward 1 also experienced growth through development.

The redistricting, which took between two and three months for Troxell and the council to complete, also for the first time straightened boundaries for the first and fifth wards, with U.S. 30 and Cline Avenue as the boundary lines.

A map of the new ward boundaries can be viewed at the Town Hall, Schmitt said.

Town employees will have to wait to find out at the next meeting whether they’ll receive any sort of pay bump for 2013 because a vote on the town’s salary ordinance will go to second reading, Schmitt said. Schmitt, who cast the lone “no,” said he believes there’s money to give town employees at 2 percent raise as they received in 2012.

“We gave them a raise, and then in February, their insurance rates went up,” he said. “We still could’ve given them a raise.”

The town may decide to go back to its bonus system of giving employees a 0.5 percent bonus each quarter if the budget will allow, Tippy said.

In other business, employees may see a change in their insurance a second time in two years, according to Schmitt. He said the town’s insurance agent is exploring different policy conditions without raising rates, though a rate hike still could happen.



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