By The Numbers

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

While all of our votes are important next Tuesday, voters inside the town limits of Crothersville have a particularly important vote to cast for the town’s future.
Voters of the Vernon Crothersville precinct will determine whether the number of representatives elected to the Crothersville Town Council should increase to five or remain at three.
This decision will impact the town election to be held in 2015.
Perhaps a look at other numbers other than 3 and 5 may help local voters in their decision.
The 2010 census (the most recent one available) shows there are 1,591 men, women and children living inside the town limits. Of those residents, the census records that 24.8% are below age 18. Which means there are 1,196 residents old enough to vote.
According to the Jackson County Clerk’s Office there are 1,062 registered voters in the Vernon Crothersville precinct so almost 89% of the age 18 & over residents eligible to have a say in the town council question next week.
As an aside, having 89% of an eligible population registered to vote ought to earn town residents some level of an award for civic responsibility.
For comparison of municipal governments, the city of Seymour (population 17,503) has seven council members and a mayor, the town of Brownstown (population 2,947) has five members on their town council and the town of Medora (population 693) has three members on their town council.
Another number to consider: $6,000. That would be the yearly cost of two additional town council salaries coming from the town’s general fund.
Local resident Brenda Holzworth was the motivating force in getting the town council to consider increasing its size. She has said her concern is that with three elected representatives there have been a number of 2-1 votes and she has said that that means one person is making the decision for the entire town.
Having a representative form of government where we elect people from among our ranks to do what is best for the community is preferred over some east coast communities’ truer form of democracy town hall meetings where whoever of the town residents show up at the meeting get to vote on what the town will do. There have been in the past some contentious issues that have packed the local town hall chambers. Emotions run high and sometimes residents say things that perhaps they may wish they hadn’t. It is not a fun type of meeting to cover. It sells a lot of newspapers the next issue, but it is difficult for the council and the reporting.
Will five people on a council eliminate a ‘one person making the decisions’? Not if two people vote yes and two people vote no. The fifth town councilperson will be making the decision.
But what it will do is bring two more minds with ideas of what is best for the community to the council table.
Making informed decisions is important in town governance…as is next week’s voters deciding how many represent the community in government.
If you live in Crothersville, please give the council question your considerable deliberation.