The City of Milford is broken into four wards, or districts, so that individuals within the city limits can be equally represented on executive matters in the town. The legislative branch of Milford, the City Council, votes on matters affecting the town from economic development, planning and zoning, finance and utilities. The key to this representative body rests on the ability of individuals within each ward to know their councilman, discuss ideas with them and follow up on their votes.
This being said, it is critical to the democratic process of our city that residents know which ward they reside and which councilman represents them. For the past ten years the lines for the wards have not changed but as of January 1, 2012 the district lines will be redrawn. A report containing a recommended plan for adjustment of the Council district boundaries must be filed with the City Clerk no later than this date.
The City of Milford Charter states that “Each district shall be formed compact, contiguous territory…contain as nearly as possible the same number of qualified voters… [and] shall not differ in population by more than ten (10) percent of the population in the smallest district created” (2.07-Council Districts; Adjustment of Districts).
After the City Council meeting on Monday, June 27, during a workshop session, City Manager David Baird presented a proposal for the new Council district boundaries. Earlier this year the City Council directed Mr. Baird to develop a proposal for them to review. With the help from the engineering firm Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc., State Planning Office of Delaware and the University of Delaware, Mr. Baird was able to deliver the proposal well ahead of schedule.
“With the provided census data we were able to keep the districts as consistent as they are now,” stated Mr. Baird. “We were able to stay well within the City of Milford Charter requirements.”
Some changes that residents can expect will be seen in Wards 4, 3 and 2. The Knotts Landing Development in Ward 4 brought a population increase to the area and will most likely change the district lines to some extent. There was also a small adjustment between Ward 2 and 3 which moved the line around City Hall from Walnut Street to Washington Street. City Hall itself is proposed to be changed from being part of Ward 3 to being considered Ward 2. Residents in these areas should be sure to review the new maps before next year’s City Council election, when they will take effect.
The ordinance to accept the proposed maps for the adjustment of the Council boundaries is said to be announced at the next City Council meeting on Monday, July 12. Under statutory requirements the public will have 30 days to view the maps before it is voted on by Council.
City Manager David Baird anticipates there will be a vote on this matter “made the latter part of August or beginning of September.”
The proposed maps will be posted in City Hall, in local publications and on the City of Milford’s website, http://www.cityofmilford.com.