The Northland area's clout with City Hall could be diluted, not improved, if a charter amendment is approved by voters in a special election Aug. 2, Northland Community Council President Emmanuel V. Remy said last week.

The Northland area's clout with City Hall could be diluted, not improved, if a charter amendment is approved by voters in a special election Aug. 2, Northland Community Council President Emmanuel V. Remy said last week.

In a wide-ranging discussion at the council's June 7 meeting about the ballot measure backed by the group Represent Columbus, NCC members expressed both concern for and support of a system that would replace the current seven at-large City Council posts with 10 members coming from wards throughout Columbus and three serving at-large.

Those elected from wards -- the boundaries of which would be drawn up by a nine-member commission -- would be required to live within those sections of the city.

Remy predicted that the vast Northland area would be split into at least two and possibly three wards.

"I've come to the conclusion I don't feel it's the best plan for Columbus," Remy said at the outset of the roundtable discussion.

He said his opposition is not to a ward system for City Council but with the specific proposal that will be before voters. For instance, Remy said, if the charter amendment is approved, it would cost an estimated $2 million to implement.

"That would be real dollars coming out of the Northland community and other communities," he said.

NCC representative and Forest Park Civic Association President Ken Gilbert, speaking as an individual and not on behalf of his organization, said he thinks it is time Columbus had a more representative form of government.

"It really would be nice to have a person in office from here, who knows the issues of the area," Gilbert said. "To me, there's something there."

"My concern would be adopting a bad plan is not a solution," Remy countered.

"I can understand frustrations and the desire for some sort of change," Gilbert said. "I'm not sure that our current plan is all that good."

Remy called on Dave Paul, chairman of the NCC development committee, to comment on how well the current City Council listens to recommendations from the advisory panel.

"I don't recall a particular case where City Council voted differently from what we would recommend," Paul said.

"The one great thing I think about Columbus, it's very collaborative in nature," Remy said.

"I'm personally pretty content with the kind of representation we're receiving."

"I do think a bad plan is not an answer," NCC Vice President Alicia Ward said, adding that she was not familiar enough with the proposed charter amendment to have reached an opinion as yet.

Ward went on to say that the NCC, in conjunction with the Franklin County Consortium for Good Government, would host a forum on the Aug. 2 ballot measure at 7 p.m. July 26 in CrossRoads Baptist Church, 5075 Cleveland Ave.

"We want people to hear both sides," she said.

"I encourage you to read the language," said Columbus City Councilman Michael Stinziano, who was on hand for the NCC's June meeting. "I personally don't think it was really well thought out.

"I do feel this, as constituted, will be less representation."