INDIANAPOLIS – A bill that would allow Allen County voters to decide to switch to a single-county executive system passed a House committee 9-3 on Tuesday.
“It’s time we give folks in Allen County good government – if they want it,” said Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle.
He authored Senate Bill 475, which has already passed the Senate and now moves to the full House. It affects only Allen County and is being viewed by some lawmakers as a pilot project for the rest of the state.
Under the legislation, if at least two county commissioners adopt an ordinance to change the executive and legislative structure of county government, it would trigger a public referendum.
A majority of voters would have to approve.
Generally, it would eliminate the system of having three county commissioners in favor of having a single county executive – similar to a mayor in structure – and a seven-member council with legislative duties.
The council would not have at-large districts, under an amendment added to the bill Tuesday.
“The whole initiative makes a lot of sense to me,” said Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters, who has supported the measure for years. “Maybe it’s my business perspective. Things move quickly and efficiently in that environment.”
Rep. Kathy Heuer, R-Columbia City, and Rep. Dave Ober, R-Albion, supported the bill. Several Democrats voted against the measure.