Deadline Approaching for Youngstown to Draw New Neighborhood Maps | News, Sports, Jobs
YOUNGSTOWN — City Council has until Tuesday to redraw council’s new ward lines, but it hasn’t even started the process yet.
The city council has 180 days after the U.S. census is released to draw new lines if the population difference between the least and most populated neighborhoods is at least 10%, according to a charter amendment approved at a overwhelming majority on November 8. 2016, election.
The census was announced on August 12, 2021, giving the council until Tuesday to propose new boundaries.
If council does not act in time, the General Counsel has 30 days after the deadline to create new ward lines, in accordance with the charter.
When contacted about it, chief legal officer Jeff Limbian was apparently unaware of the timelines.
“I have no comment on my awareness,” he said.
He added: “It happened. We haven’t followed through, but we will work on it.
Tom Hetrick, who became council chairman on Jan. 1, said he recently learned of the deadline by reading the city charter. Hetrick said he brought it to the attention of some council members.
“When I saw it in the charter, I realized we had to do it quickly,” he said.
Hetrick received the population census by neighborhoods from the Youngstown State University Mapping and GIS Data Center.
It shows that there is a difference of 16% between the 7th arrondissement, with 9,107 inhabitants, and the 6th arrondissement, with 7,653 inhabitants, thus requiring new lines.
The city’s overall population fell to 60,068 at the last census, from 66,982 a decade earlier.
The last time the council drew new ward lines in 2015, it took its members more than a year to reach agreement on a map.
Councilman Mike Ray, D-4th Ward, who is the only member involved in the 2015 redistricting, said he had a new map in place by Tuesday: “I wouldn’t rule that out. It’s about moving some lines. I hope my colleagues will be willing to move some lines for population changes. I trust my colleagues to make this happen.
But Ray acknowledges that the council doesn’t even have a map with demographics to work from.
“Knowing the importance of this, my colleagues would work diligently to achieve this,” he said. “The redistricting becomes a nightmare when it is politicized. This will not be the case. It moves some rows. It is a painless effort. But the timing is not ideal. »
Ray said time is “running out” when it comes to the recut.
“It wasn’t on anyone’s mind,” he said. “The publication of the data was done without really knowing it. Nobody talks about it. (Hetrick) reached out to me and I remember doing it (in 2015). Let’s do it. I have had positive feedback from my colleagues.
Although the city council was supposed to redraw wards after each census under the old charter, this was not done for over 30 years until new lines were drawn in 2015.
A year later, a charter review commission suggested stronger redistricting language, including the word ‘shall’, and it was approved by voters 66.72 to 33.28% in the ballot. of November 8, 2016.
But there are no real consequences under the charter for not attracting new neighborhoods in time — or even at all.
Neighborhoods are meant to be close enough to the population to ensure fair representation of residents, Ray said.
When the new maps were finally approved in July 2015, more than a year after council first discussed them, ward populations ranged from 7,227 to 12,130, a difference of more than 40%, in using 2010 census figures.
After the new lines were laid, the difference between the most populated and least populated neighborhoods had fallen to 8.8%.
The Council agreed at the time not to count inmates in the ward breakdown even though prisoners are counted in the census. The majority of board members were concerned that a reduction in the number of inmates at Northeast Ohio Correctional Facility, a private prison on the east side, would pose a representation problem.