The new map, designed to balance the population more evenly in each ward based on the last census, came under fire for using projected new housing associated with both the east and west Gateway projects, rather than using actual population numbers.
Councilors Pat Quinn and Lawrence Andre first objected to the use of 400 anticipated residential units being counted into the population projections used to balance the wards in the recommended map. Mayor Laura McConwell urged the council to move the proposal to the public hearing stage, saying that the Countryside neighborhood was most affected by the map changes and that a separate meeting had been held in Countryside with only minimal concern expressed about the proposal.
Councilor Amy Miller questioned the representation from Ward 2 on the committee, to which McConwell responded that all of the wards had a representative and additionally councilor Quinn representing the council.
“I didn’t realize it was going to be such a big issue,” McConwell said. The council overwhelmingly decided to table the recommendation and spend more time discussing it in committee. The proposal originally came out of committee on a tie vote.
The council split on other issues, including budget resolutions, which passed but with dissenting votes being cast. Andre and Miller also spoke against a budget resolution. Andre said it was the second year he could not support the budget, saying it is too hard for citizens “to understand where the money goes.” Miller said she was disappointed about cuts to capital outlay.
A resolution for a $30,000 engineering study regarding storm water near site of the new swimming pool also drew negative votes.