The Municipal Government of the City of Butler

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The City of Butler is classified as a third-class city according to Indiana Code 36-4-1-1.  A third-class city has a population of less than 35,000.

The structure of municipal governments in Indiana is established by Title 36 of the Indiana Code.  The elected officials and appointed boards and commission listed below are similar among all third-class cities in Indiana, with minor variations.

Butler City Code of Ordinances

The City of Butler is governed by a “Code of Ordinances.”   The Code covers all facets of municipal administration, including the following:

  • Title 1   – General Provisions.
  • Title 3   – Administration.
  • Title 5   – Public Works.
  • Title 7   – Traffic Code.
  • Title 9   – General Regulations.
  • Title 11 – Business Regulations.
  • Title 13 – General Offenses.
  • Title 15 – Land Usage.

The comprehensive plan, which is part of Title 15, primarily covers Public Works (City buildings and properties, water, sanitary and storm mains, streets and parks) and Land Usage (comprehensive plan, zoning and subdivision regulations).  Links to the land use documents can be found as follows:

The Management of Butler

As a third-class Indiana City, Butler is governed by a mayor-council form of government. The  Mayor and Common Council members, as well as the Clerk-Treasurer and City Judge, are elected in the odd-numbered years prior to presidential election years, i.e., 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2023, etc.   The terms for elected City officials are for four years.  There are no term limits for these offices.

The Mayor appoints the several members of the local boards and commissions, with the Council also making appointments as required by the Indiana Code.

Appointed officials are department heads who are in charge of public safety, public works and planning / zoning functions of the City.

The details for the various municipal positions are provided below:

Elected Officials

  • MayorThe chief elected official of Butler is the Mayor, who is responsible for the overall operation of the city government. State law requires a mayor to reside within the city.  There are no limits on the number of terms a mayor may serve.

  • Common Council The Common Council serves as the legislative and fiscal body for the City of Butler. The Council considers and adopts all ordinances, orders, resolutions and motions for governing the city.  The Council also authorizes city expenditures by adopting the annual city budget.   The city is divided into four councilmanic districts, each with its own Council representative: 
Butler Common Council Districts – Click on Aerial Photo to Enlarge

A council-at-large seat, encompassing the entire city, comprises the fifth seat on the Council.   There are no limits on the number of terms a council member may serve.

  • Clerk-Treasurer The Clerk-Treasurer manages and directs the City’s finances and accounts, keeps and maintains the records of the Common Council and records the minutes of the Common Council and Board of Works meetings. The Clerk also maintains the City ordinance and resolution books.   The Clerk must be a city resident and serves a four-year term.   There are no limits on the number of terms a clerk-treasurer may serve

  • City Judge – The City Judge operates the Butler City Court. The Court collects fines for traffic violations issued in DeKalb County by various law enforcement agencies. The Judge hears disputes filed to those violations and renders judgments.

Appointed Boards and Commissions

  • Board of Public Works and Safety The Board of Public Works and Safety acts as the contracting agent for the City of Butler. It also adopts administrative and disciplinary rules for the operation of the police and fire departments, the municipal utilities and the civil city departments.  The board is comprised of the Mayor, who serves as Chairman, and two members appointed by the Mayor.  The appointed members must be residents of Butler and do not have to be elected officials.

  • Board of Zoning AppealsThe Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) hears and considers requests for variances from the zoning regulations. Anyone who wants to build a structure or use their property in a way that is not permitted by the zoning regulations must apply for either a variance or a special exception as applicable.   Such requests are considered in a public hearing.  The Plan Commission may also appoint a hearing examiner who has limited powers to grant certain variances.

  • Economic Development Commission – The Butler Economic Development Commission (EDC) is responsible for reviewing petitions for Economic Revitalization Area designations and Economic Development Target Area designations. This designation is the first step for real estate or personal property tax abatements. The EDC makes  recommendations to the Common Council concerning the designation and the tax abatement.

  • Plan CommissionThe Plan Commission is an advisory board whose function is to review land use plans, zoning and subdivision regulations, and to pass on recommendations regarding such plans and regulations to the Common Council for final action. The commission has final authority for approving subdivision plats and development plans.

  • Redevelopment CommissionThe Redevelopment Commission is an autonomous board that may plan, fund and pursue redevelopment projects. It has bonding authority, and may buy and sell property.  It may also contract for building demolition.  Members are appointed by the Mayor to one-year terms.

City Appointed Officials & Departments

The following City departments, and the elected or appointed officials who head each department, are responsible for the daily operations of the Butler municipal government.   Information regarding the City departments are provided below via links to the City of Butler website:


Do you want to know more, and have questions about, how Butler runs?  Please send a question or comment below via our Comments form.

We appreciate your participation and input.

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