Review of numbers could prompt changes
A five-member panel is examining the boundaries of Reynoldsburg City Council's four wards, a process the city charter requires every 10 years.
Chairman Preston Stearns, Vice Chairman Bruce Sowell and members Robert Cook, Ryan Brzezinski and Marshall Spalding will use data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the firm Evans, Mechwart, Hambleton & Tilton of New Albany, which provides a Global Information System, to study any shifts in population.
"What we're trying to do is keep things equal," said Stearns, who expects the commission to complete its work before City Council returns from its summer recess in early September. "You make adjustments in the boundaries so everything is the same."
Any ward boundary reviews and recommendations should be submitted and in place before the next ward elections, scheduled for November 2015.
No more than two members of the commission, which met for the first time July 23, can represent one political party. Each ward of the city is represented by one person on the panel.
"It shouldn't take any longer than two or three meetings," Stearns said. "We're still waiting to receive all the data and we should have that at our next meeting. It's something that will have to be done as quickly as possible."
Preliminary data indicates Wards 1 and 4 have lost population, while Wards 2 and 3 have gained residents, Stearns said.
Councilman Scott Barrett represents Ward 1 and Mel Clemens was elected to serve Ward 4 residents. Leslie Kelly and Cornelius McGrady serve Wards 2 and 3, respectively.
Barth Cotner, Chris Long and Nathan Burd are council's at-large members.
When the ward boundaries were redrawn in 2002, Wards 1 and 4 were expanded to the east, ThisWeek reported. North of Lancaster Avenue, in the older section of Reynoldsburg, a development previously in Ward 2 was changed to Ward 1.
At the time, commission Chairman Charles McGrath said Ward 4 had the lowest population and that Ward 3 would see the biggest changes in the future.
"Everything is moving east," Stearns said.