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Redistricting plans starting to take shape
by Joshua H. Silavent and the Associated Press
Aug 08, 2011 | 870 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPARKS — The City Council will get its first look today at three plans to redraw the city’s voting wards in response to population growth reported by the 2010 U.S. Census.

The ward boundaries were last redrawn in 2003. At that time, the city’s population stood at about 78,000, but has grown to more than 91,000 since.

The majority of growth during that time occurred in Ward 4, represented by Councilman Mike Carrigan.

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

City code requires that no single ward have a population that exceeds any other by more than 5 percent.

The three proposals to redraw the boundaries include a litany of possible changes to the size and demographics of each ward. Ward 4 is likely to see the biggest change because of the surge in population it has experienced in recent years.

Concept 1 removes Pioneer Meadows and a portion of The Vistas from Ward 4, while Concept 2 retains Pioneer Meadows but removes Wingfield Springs, Cimarron, The Foothills and Upper Highlands. Finally, Concept 3 cuts out significant residential areas currently within the ward and incorporates the city’s industrial area.

City staff has said they have taken minority representation and other factors mandated by the Voting Rights Act of 1964 into account.

The City Council is not expected to take action on the plans today. That will likely come sometime in September. A public input meeting on redistricting will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Larry D. Johnson Community Center, located at 1200 12th St. in Sparks.

The council will meet at 2 p.m. today in the legislative chambers located at 745 Fourth St.
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