Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

March 19, 2013

City Council tables redistricting plan

Group to revisit issue during its April 9 meeting.

GOSHEN — Goshen residents will have to wait just a bit longer to learn how the City Council’s new district boundaries will be laid out.

City Council members Tuesday voted to table the second reading and possible adoption of an ordinance establishing new district boundaries within the city — something state statute requires city officials to do once every 10 years. Council members will revisit the ordinance during their April 9 meeting.

Passage of the new district boundaries has not been an easy task for the council, with concerns over uneven population variances among districts and the potential for gerrymandering — the redrawing of district lines to suit political parties — making it very difficult to settle on any one particular plan.

The ordinance was initially passed on first reading at the council’s Dec. 4 meeting. However, discussion on the second reading of the ordinance was postponed at the Dec. 27, Jan. 2 and Jan. 15 meetings, each time with the goal of giving council members more time to review the provided options and possibly come up with alternatives.

To date, three redistricting options have been brought before the council for consideration. Those options are as follows:

• Option 1A is the proposal submitted to the council on Jan. 15. Option 1A splits Elkhart Township precincts 12 and 13. The population variance for Option 1A is 14.80 percent.

• Option 2A splits Elkhart Township precincts 1, 8, 11 and 14. The population variance for Option 2A is 2.52 percent.

• Option 4 splits Elkhart Township precincts 5, 8, 11, 14 and 17. The population variance for Option 4 is 1.70 percent.

Vocal in support of delaying the ordinance adoption Tuesday was council member Jim McKee, who informed the council that he would like some additional time to finish putting together a possible fourth option for the council’s consideration at its upcoming April 9 meeting.

“I really don’t want to wait longer, but I would like to postpone it until the 9th, because I have this that I’m working on, and I would like you (Mayor Allan Kauffman and the council) to have an opportunity to take a look at that as well,” McKee said. “I realize we’re late, but then we started late in December, and that’s kind of where we’re at. So I would prefer to postpone it until the 9th of April, and then I’ll get ready to vote.”

Before voting to either pass or table the ordinance, Kauffman invited members of the public to come forward and share their views about the proposed redistricting options.

Among the first to speak was Goshen resident Richard Aguirre. He indicated that above and beyond any concerns over gerrymandering, his biggest concern as a Goshen resident and voter is that the council adopts an ordinance establishing the lowest population variance possible in order to ensure that every vote carry’s the same weight on election day.

“I have not checked any of these plans for how they would affect Democrats or Republicans, and speaking for myself, I really don’t care,” Aguirre said. “The only thing I care about is that the variance be as low as possible, because I want my vote to count as much as the resident of any other district.”

Aguirre noted that he lives in council member Everett Thomas’s district, one of the largest of the city’s five districts, and feels that the current population variance in his district diminishes the value of his vote.

“When his district is as large as it is, I feel I and my fellow residents of that district are disadvantaged,” Aguirre said. “The concept is one person, one vote. That’s what redistricting is supposed to be about. I’m not naive enough to think that politics doesn’t play a role. It always plays a role. But I believe that when government strives to be as close as it can to the people on the municipal level, politics should take a back seat to that. So I was very welcoming of the two (city) staff proposals that were put together that had an extremely low variance, and I’m hoping that the council would consider something with that low of a variance.”

Regardless of what the council eventually decides to adopt, Aguirre said, he recommended that if McKee does come up with a new option for the council to review at its upcoming April 9 meeting, that there be at least some time set aside for concerned Goshen residents like himself to have some time to review it beforehand.

“I know this has been a difficult process for all of you, so I thank you very much for that,” Aguirre said. “I hope you’re focusing on getting it right.”

Also among those speaking Tuesday was Tom Stump, past Goshen City Council member and current County Council member, who urged the council to try and keep the splitting of precinct boundaries to a minimum when reviewing their options for redistricting.

“There are other things that need to be taken into account, such as precinct boundaries,” Stump said. “If you don’t split precincts, people know where they’re going to vote and who represents them. So I would say, one of the things you want to do when you make these council boundaries is you want to split as few precincts and make it as easily understood as possible. And you need to take into account the history of the districts and the wants of the council people are also important in this. So I think it needs more work.”

Other business

• The council voted four to three in opposition to passing a proposed amendment to the Building Department Fee Ordinance which would have allowed for an increase in the fees for the registration of each rental dwelling unit, hotel or rooming house in the city of Goshen.

With the amendment, biennial registration for each rental dwelling unit in the city would have been raised to $40, while annual registration for each hotel or rooming house in the city would increase to $75. Council members voting against the amendment were Jim McKee, Edward Ahlersmeyer, Dixie Robinson and Brett Weddell. Voting in favor of the amendment were Julia Gautsche, Everett Thomas and Jeremy Stutsman.

• The council voted to approve an additional appropriation of $300,000 from the Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) fund to go toward contractual services for the Jefferson Street Reconstruction project.

 

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Sheriff’s deputies respond to dispute ELKHART — Nobody was injured after a shotgun was fired Friday afternoon. According to the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department at approximately 5:15 p.m., Elkhart County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a dispute that was occurring in the 21000 block o

    August 1, 2014

  • GN140801 Mackowiak new Millersburg marshal.jpg Retired Goshen police officer sworn in as new Millersburg town marshal

    Retired Goshen police officer Al Mackowiak was sworn in as Millersburg's new town marshal Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hunt_Jeffrey New Paris home invader sentenced to 120 years in prison

    Jeffery J. Hunt was sentenced to 120 years after being pleading guilty to a violent home invasion in New Paris.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kulp is new Goshen softball coach Brent Kulp was hired as the new Goshen High School softball coach at Monday night’s school board meeting. He was a physical education and health teacher in the Baugo Community Schools for 18 years and head softball coach at Jimtown High School for 15 seasons. Under his direction, Jimtown earned five Northern State Conference championships, five sectional titles and two regional titles and his teams compiled an overall record of 285-133-1.

    July 28, 2014

  • Middlebury man burned in water heater blast 
 MIDDLEBURY — Authorities say a Middlebury man has been hospitalized after he was injured when a water heater exploded. Firefighters tell WSBT-TV the man in his 20s was trying to light a water heater that had run out of gas and used too much fuel. The

    July 26, 2014

  • Clinton Frame leaving IN-MI Mennonite Conference over same-sex marriage

    After nearly 100 years of being in the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, Clinton Frame Mennonite Church officials announced it will be leaving because of the controversy related to same-sex marriage.

    July 24, 2014

  • Red D Mart armed robbery New Paris Police ask for public's help in identifying would-be robber

    Elkhart County police have released still photos captured from video of the man who attempted to hold up Red D Mart gas station, 68310 Ind. 15, New Paris, on Saturday, July 19.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Red Cross in urgent need of donors

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huron Street residents under boil order

    Tuesday morning, Goshen water crews shut down the water main on Huron Street to replace a broken fire hydrant.
    The Indiana Department of Environmental Management requires the Water Utility to issue a boil water order for the affected area, which is Huron Street from West Lincoln to Pike Street.

    July 23, 2014

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Poll

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
     View Results