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Youngstown councilmen begin reconsidering division of city

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A charter amendment passed last election now requires council to reconsider how the city is divided after each federal census and change the way it's divided if the census shows a "reasonable" change in population.

For the first time since the November election, city council members have sat down to begin the process of redrawing the city's seven wards.

A process Youngstown council president Tito Brown describes as "daunting."

"It's going to be a working process, so you won't see it happen overnight because you want it to be fair and equitable," Brown said. At the end of the day, you want to make sure demographics are there, economics are a part of that and just make sure everyone is represented in the best way possible across the city."

With current ward boundaries, some wards have about 8,000 residents, others as many as 12,000. The goal of redistricting is to find a balance. 

On Monday, council members looked at two maps prepared by Youngstown State University to get a feel for possible options. Those options open the door to various issues that will need to be addressed as the process continues such as the issue when a ward has to grow geographically to receive its fair share of residents; would that ward receive more road money?

As it is now, each ward gets about the same amount.

"We have to change and be responsible for the times," said councilman Mike Ray. The city has changed and we really need to be modern and rethink how we do things."

Council members tossed around the idea of hiring an outside company to draw the new wards, others felt the city should utilize the resources they have, such as YSU.

Overall, council members seemed to agree the new wards would not go into effect until the end of their terms in 2016, but would be made public in time for any future council candidates to begin their campaign.

 

 



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