Canton City Council realigns city neighborhoods after population displacement

TOWNSHIP – A significant decrease in population in Ward 1 and an increase in population in Ward 8 recorded by the 2020 census will change the boundaries of four wards.

Legal Director Kristen Bates Aylward did not have information on the exact number of residents affected Monday night, but said the neighborhood realignment would affect about 500 people. City Council approved the new boundaries for Wards 1, 7, 8 and 9 Monday at the last regular meeting of the year.

Continued:Canton City Council seat depends on 2020 census

The city’s population grew from 73,007 in 2010 to 70,872 in 2020. But it didn’t fall below the 70,000 minimum to maintain nine wards, which made the process easier compared to when the city eliminated a ward, said Councilman Bill Smuckler, D-at large.

“There was very little damage,” he said.

The population of Wards 1 and 8 varied from the others by just over 10%, so city leaders and the legal department worked together to realign the boundaries for equal representation. Bates Aylward said Ward 7 and a few properties in Ward 9 have been adjusted to make the change possible since Wards 1 and 8 are not contiguous.

“It actually turned out pretty well,” she said.

The new city ward map will be sent to the Stark County Board of Elections, who will notify affected residents. Bates Aylward said the changes will be effective for future elections.

Other action

  • The council approved a 3% wage increase, a $1,000 bonus for essential workers and a $500 COVID-19 vaccine incentive for city management and non-union staff. Council members recently approved the same for employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Unions.
  • The city council has authorized the mayor or the director of the civil service to award contracts for the design of a public toilets and supporting facility at Court Avenue and Fourth Street NW near Centennial Plaza. The order appropriated $57,600 from the Global Plan fund for design work.
  • Members of Council authorized the Mayor or Director of Public Service to loan One AEP Company up to $200,000 in full plan funds for renovations at 420 Fourth St. SW. The 10-year loan will have an interest rate of 0.5%. One AEP Company and its subsidiary, Viking Data Systems, plan to repair cryptocurrency machines and mine Bitcoin on the property, bringing 17 new jobs to Canton over the next three years, according to city documents. Deputy Mayor Fonda Williams said the limited liability company is linked to the North Township-based Squirrels Company, not the power company.
  • Council passed a resolution commending Councilwoman Christine Schulman, D-at Large, for her “dedication to public service.” Schulman was named to the board in 2019, then elected later that year. She lost it re-election offer this year, and Monday was its last meeting. Several city officials thanked Schulman for her service, saying her late husband and former council chairman Allen Schulman would be proud. “I’ve held many leadership positions in my life, but serving on city council has been a unique and worthwhile position that I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of,” Schulman said. “So thank you to all the citizens of Guangzhou and the Democratic Party for their trust in me.”
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