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Merrillville Town Council finalizes new district map

screenshot from Merrillville YouTube meeting video
Merrillville Council members debate the proposed council district map Dec. 13.

The Merrillville Town Council has finalized its new council districts, but not without some debate.

The new map attempts to re-balance the districts' populations, by lowering the number of residents in ward 5, while raising the populations of wards 1, 4, 6 and 7. Ward 3 is the only one that remains unchanged.

When the proposed redistricting ordinance was presented earlier this month, Council President Rick Bella said it would bring the deviation just under five percent. "We will go from the worst in the state of Indiana to, probably, one of the best," Bella added.

But council member Leonard White raised a number of concerns, complaining that he was excluded from the process and that a potential competitor who was initially moved to another ward ended up staying in ward 7, at Bella's request.

"I sent a letter today to the Indiana attorney general because I think there's some funny stuff going on here because you shouldn't have did that," White told Bella.

"You think this is funny stuff?" Bella asked.

"Well, I'm not laughing about it," White replied. "I'm just trying to say that you're cheating, that's all."

But White was not in attendance when the ordinance came up for a final vote Tuesday, and the other six members approved it unanimously.