“Live Note”: Session One of the Fishers City Government Academy – Introduction

The Fishers City Government Academy is one of several programs offered in the area that provides citizens a more in-depth and behind the scenes look at many of the operations happening within the local Fishers, Indiana government. I overview the program in the article, “A Peek Behind the Curtains: Exclusive Chances to Learning about Fishers, Indiana“. This post is my live notes from the first session I attended in August of 2023. These are live notes, so they are rough, but they give you an idea of some of the topics covered.

The meeting took place at the Department of Public Works off of Eller Road on the West side of Fishers. The meeting was hosted by Ashley Elrod but the speaker was Mayor Fadness. Lots of tidbits of information were presented. This was an overview of many of the roles around the city:

  • City employees are hired for their competencies, not as a result of any political party.
  • Fishers was one of the largest towns before becoming a city. As a town, there are seven elected council members and a clerk/treasurer. As a city, there are nine council members elected across six districts and 3 at-large.
  • Fishers is a second-class city which means it has a clerk and controller. The clerk does minutes and records of meetings. The controller is focused on finances. (CPA).
  • In the 80’s, Fishers was a farm town.
  • In the late 80’s to 90s, Fishers started to become suburban.
  • 1994-2004: About 1700 new homes were being built in some of those years. Fast growth.
  • In around 2012, focus started shifting to commercial. This was to help offset the impacts of the 2008-9 property tax cap and the 2008-10 housing bust. To be financially stable as a city, house alone are not enough to support the costs.
  • Currently – City is getting older. There are costs to running a city. Example costs for fishers include $1.9 mll9ion to buy one of the big fire trucks the city has (The city has 3 of these). A regular fire truck is $700,000. A police car costs $45-50,000.
  • Public safety includes managing police, fire, and more.
  • The Fishers Police Department – Includes a crime lab with a rapid DNA system. Fishers was the first city in Indiana to have a rapid DNA system. They can pull fingerprints from cloth with the technology they have. The FPD also has Flock cameras, which read license plates. All officers wear body cameras. The cost of having body cameras and the technology behind them can be $300-$500,000 a year.
  • Fishers Fire Department includes seven stations. A station can have fire engines, ambulances, ladder trucks (which doesn’t pump water), and rescue trucks. There are 45 to 50 people on a given day serving with the fire department.
  • Many of the fire station calls involve mental health issues. It was stated that about 175 to 225 times a year a person, the run is related to a person with a mental health issue.
  • Public safety nuisance ordinance started on August 1st.
  • Public Infrastructure is a 24/7 operation in Fishers.
  • Public Works has about 100 employees that maintain pretty much everything around the city.
  • Engineering does the designing and building of the big things. They deal with the big road and trial projects. NOTE: year after next (2025) Allisonville and 116th Roundabout and road is expected to be addressed. 96th and Allisonville comes the year after that. Trails include the Nickle Plate Trail and the Geist Greenway trail.
  • Parks Department – They maintain the parks and such.
  • City also has IT, HR, communications, economic development, zoning and planning, and more.
  • It is interesting that people can have McCordville or Fortville addresses, but actually live in Fishers.
  • Fishers Health Department – Fishers created their own health department. The City needs to do more with mental health. While groups like CPS deal with mental health, the city needs to do more.
  • Fishers had the highest vaccination numbers of any City in Indiana and the lowest mortality rating as well.

The discussion of political swings was raised. How do we bring a community together if there are swings politically? Mayor Fadness indicated that by focusing on the entire community, they can keep the impact low. It was indicated that in many cases, a lot of the swings are simply the result of “a lot of drama”.

Conclusion

Again, these are notes taken live during the session, so things might have been capture or heard incorrectly; however, the notes do provide insights into the breadth and scope of what they Mayro and his team oversee. This was an introduction to the city. The sessions in the Fishers City Government Academy that followed this over the following three months dug into all of the topics above in greater detail. As time allows, I’ll try to post some of my live note from those as well.

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