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Redistricting on council’s agenda one last time
by Joshua H. Silavent
Oct 10, 2011 | 802 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPARKS — The City Council today will revisit redistricting its voting wards after a last-minute amendment to an approved map unbalanced target population counts for each ward. Another public hearing on the matter is scheduled.

Two weeks ago, it looked as though the City Council had finally agreed on boundaries for new voting wards.

The council approved map 1C, with an amendment to move Stone View Drive and the southeast intersection of Vista Heights Drive and Los Altos Parkway to Ward 4, represented by Councilman Mike Carrigan, from Ward 3, represented by Councilman Ron Smith, in order to retain Vistas homeowners association members within a single voting bloc.

That change has disrupted a target population threshold for all wards and prompted city planners to develop new redistricting proposals for consideration.

Redistricting the city’s voting wards comes on the heels of 2010 U.S. census data showing the population in Sparks grew to 91,057 from about 77,000 over the last decade.

The city’s municipal code requires that no single ward have a population that exceeds any other by more than 5 percent.

But the census reports that population growth since 2003 — the last time the voting wards were redrawn — has upended this balance and triggered the necessary adjustments.

According to staff reports, when the total population is divided evenly among the five wards, Ward 1 is under-populated by about 10 percent; Ward 2 is under-populated by 3 percent; Ward 3 is under-populated by 16 percent; and Ward 4 and Ward 5 are overpopulated by 26 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Adding the Vista Heights area has increased the population of Ward 4 by about 230, according to city planner Jim Rundle. This adjustment means that Ward 3 is now 6 percent smaller than Ward 4, thereby unseating the target population balance.

To fix this, a new map has been drawn to include the Ward 4 change, add the southeast corner of Sparks Boulevard and Baring Boulevard to Ward 3 from Ward 5, and move the area immediately south and west of East Greenbrae Drive north of Prater Way to Ward 5 from Ward 3.

This map, known as 1F, meets the target population range for all five wards, Rundle said.

The City Council will have to choose between this map and an un-amended map 1C at its next meeting, scheduled for 2 p.m. on Oct. 10.

To view the two maps, visit http://cityofsparks.us/city-services/mayorcouncil-and-manager/2011-ward-redistricting.

In other agenda items, the City Council will consider extending a cooperative agreement with Reno and Washoe County for the operation of the Community Assistance Center and homeless shelter on Record Street in Reno. The agreement would run through fiscal year 2013 and retains Reno as the lead agency.

Finally, the City Council is expected to accept an $80,225 Emergency Management Performance Grant from Nevada’s Division of Emergency Management to supplant 50 percent of selected city general fund salaries and expenditures related to emergency management efforts for the period Oct. 1 to March 31, 2012.
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