City council begins redistricting process to address growth in central, west Carmel


The Carmel City Council took the first step toward redrawing its council districts by approving a resolution Oct. 17 setting guidelines for the process. 

The council last redistricted in 2018 after becoming a second-class city, which added two district seats to the legislative body. It is going through the redistricting process again because state law requires municipalities to do so two years after a U.S. census. 

The city’s population grew enough between 2018 and 2020 that its six districts are no longer balanced, according to Brian Bosma, an attorney with Kroger Gardis & Regas, who is consulting on the process. 

To balance the districts, each one should have approximately 16,626 residents. According to 2020 census data, populations in the West and Central districts are both more than 5 percent above the target, while the Southeast District is more than 6 percent below it. 

CIC COM 1025 Redistricting
The greatest amount of population growth since 2018 has occurred in Carmel’s West and Central districts. (Illustration by Zach Ross / Map data: Hamilton County GIS)

According to state law, and as affirmed in the resolution, the new districts should be comprised of contiguous territory, be reasonably compact and balance populations as equally as possible. Bosma said the new districts should avoid splitting precincts, although the law allows that to happen under certain conditions. 

Members of the public may submit comments about the redistricting guidelines through noon Oct. 28. Revisions to the guidelines must be submitted to the city council by Oct. 31 for adoption Nov. 2. 

As city council vice president, Jeff Worrell is serving as redistricting coordinator and will be responsible for submitting the city’s proposed plan to the city clerk by noon Nov. 3, which also is when plans submitted by members of the public are due. 

The council plans to hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 9 to introduce a redistricting ordinance and assign it to the Finance, Utilities and Rules Committee for further review. A public hearing on the ordinance will be held at a meeting set for 6 p.m. Nov. 15. The council is expected to vote on the redistricting ordinance at its Nov. 21 meeting. State law requires the ordinance be adopted by Dec. 31. 

Additional information about the process may be obtained from the Carmel City Clerk’s office.