Ward Redistricting plan approved by council

Terry RogersGovernment & Politics, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

New ward boundaries have been created for the City of Milford that will be in effect with for the April 2023 Election

On Monday, October 24, Milford City Council approved a plan that would redistrict the four wards within the city. Redistricting is required under the city charter in order to confirm that wards have balanced populations. Ward 1 will have 2,823 people with 150 transferring to Ward 2 and 234 to Ward 3. Ward 2 will have 2,727 people, moving 150 from Ward 1 and shifting 107 to Ward 3 as well as 211 to Ward 4. Ward 3 will have 2,725 people, adding 234 from Ward 1 and 107 from Ward 2 while 88 will move to Ward 4. With the 211 moving from Ward 2 and 88 from Ward 3, Ward 4 will have 2,933 people.

“We started working on this redistricting in September 2021,” Ring Lardner Principal Partner and Engineer with Davis, Bowen & Friedel, said. “The first step in that process was to download all the census tract data. It was delayed over a year given COVID and everything else, so we got a late start to this. We typically would do this in 2020 but there has been a delay across the entire state.”

City code requires that wards cannot differ in population by more than 10 percent. Upon reviewing data, Lardner explained that there were wards whose population was more than 10 percent of other wards, requiring the redistricting. Because the only area where the wards were contiguous was downtown, changes to the ward populations would impact Milford’s downtown area.

“With the new redistricting, Ward 4 will have 2,933 people but it is still within the 10 percent requirement by 66 residents,” Lardner said. “Because we can’t really factor in growth, we have an idea where the city is growing and we are hoping we moved the lines around enough so that as growth occurs over the next ten years, we will not have to go through redistricting again, but there are no promises.”

Councilman Jason James asked when the new lines would take effect if council voted to approve the redistricting plan and Lardner explained that it would take effect immediately. City Clerk Terri Hudson explained that the redistricting had to be completed at least six months before an election so this would be the plan used in the next council election planned for April 2023.

“The slowest growing ward is the fourth ward,” Lardner explained. “The fastest growth is in Ward 1 and Ward 2. What we did was push Ward 4 as far as we could push it, hoping that as Ward 1 and Ward 2 grow, Ward 3 will also grow.”

Councilman Todd Culotta asked how residents would be notified they were now in a new ward and Hudson stated that any resident who would now live in a different ward would be notified of the change.

There was a public hearing held prior to the vote, but no one spoke for or against the redistricting plan. The plan passed unanimously.

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