Friday, May 27, 2011

TOP STORY >> Sherwood realigns wards

Leader staff writer

Sherwood ward boundaries are changing.

By a 6-2 vote Monday, the council put all of Gravel Ridge in its own ward and moved most of Aldermen Tim McMinn and Steve Fender’s constituents out from under their representation, which is why the two voted no to the new borders.

A city is allowed to make adjustments to ward boundaries after a census count. The 2010 numbers showed the city’s population had increased by 8,000, and the difference in ward populations was as much as 4,000 residents.

The difference in ward populations is not supposed to be more than five percent.

Fender was upset that the majority of the council had agreed to the boundaries at a workshop that he did not attend.

“Some of us on this council do work,” Fender said. “And you always seem to schedule these workshops at the last minute and during business hours. If I had been able to attend I would have recommended we go to five wards.”

The city has four wards and under the new plan still has four wards, but with major shifts in lines to put all of Gravel Ridge in one ward and to keep all ward populations around 7,200.

The Gravel Ridge ward —Ward 4 — extends southward into central Sherwood just enough to include Fender and McMinn’s neighborhood.

McMinn said, “73 percent of the current Ward 4 voters put Fender in office and 65 percent put me in office and now we won’t represent them. It’s an injustice.”

He tried to persuade the council to vote for a different configuration that left McMinn and Fender’s ward fairly intact and split Gravel Ridge, as it is now, into two wards. “This way they get double the representation.”

Fender said neither he nor McMinn lived in Gravel Ridge and neither were planning to move there in the near future “It was unfair to ask them to represent an area we are not familiar with,” he said.

Alderman Charlie Harmon said, yes, he was voted on by his ward, but it was his job to represent all of Sherwood and to vote for what was best for Sherwood, not necessarily just his ward.

Brooks pointed out that she was losing a great portion of her ward too.

Under the approved plans, Ward 1 will take in the eastern side of the city below Gravel Ridge and have a population of $7,386 residents.

Ward 2 will still take in the western side of the city, but will lose its Gravel Ridge portion and part of its southern border to Ward 3. It will have 7,125 residents and will be the city’s smallest ward.

Ward 3 shifts to the east and south and will have 7,274 residents.

Ward 4 will include all of Gravel Ridge and the northern middle section of the city. It will be the largest of the four wards with a population of 7,661.

None of the changes leave any of the current aldermen out of their wards.

In other council business:

n Aldermen approved a re-vamping of the advertising and promotion commission 2011 budget, increasing projected revenues from $600,000 to $635,000 to include a donation the commission received from the Trail of Lights.

Commission expenditures for 2011 include $300,000 for Harmon Recreation Center, $120,000 for the golf course; $154,000 for city events such as the Trail of Lights, Fourth of July, Sherwood Fest and Christmas parade; $10,000 to the parks and recreation department; $25,000 for advertising, and $25,000 toward replacing the youth center roof.