The very basics of cities in Indiana

Indiana has three classes of cities. There is only one “first-class” city, which is defined simply as being more than 250,000 population. That city is Indianapolis, also the state capital. It has a mayor and a 25-person city council.

Then there are “second-” and “third-class” cities. Second-class cities must be at least 35,000 population, and must opt to become second-class. Bloomington is a second-class city and, at 70,000, is the seventh-largest city in the state. There are, I think, around 30 second-class cities in Indiana.

Second-class cities have a nine-member council. Six represent districts and three are at large. All are elected quadrennially in the year before a presidential election.

Any town that opts to become a city starts out as a third-class city, which has a seven-member council. Third-class cities also elect a “clerk-treasurer,” and the mayor serves on the council. In second-class cities, the mayor is elected separately, as is a city clerk, and the city “treasurer” is appointed by and works for the mayor.Here’s an article about a Hoosier city going through these very definitions itself:

Portage should be wary of second-class status

Portage hit the magic population number in the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2004 estimate that would elevate the city to second-class status. But that status isn’t worth acquiring yet.

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