Wooster to redesign its four wards after 2020 census population surge

WOOSTER — Residents living on the fringes of the city’s four wards may soon find themselves represented by another city council member and living in a different ward.

The city gained 1,113 people since the 2010 census, but all of that growth hasn’t happened evenly across the four wards, said Joel Montgomery, director of administration.

To correct this, the city will adjust its political boundaries to make each neighborhood more equal in terms of population density. No new neighborhoods will be created.

Results of the 2020 census:The town of Ashland and the township of Milton have lost nearly 7,500 people in total since 2010

“It just means moving the boundaries to another street,” Montgomery said after the city council meeting on Monday, April 4.

The town charter says there must be four wards established and amended by Wooster City Council by the end of the year when census results are received, he said.

That deadline was at the end of 2021, but it has come and gone, Montgomery said.

“We sent a memo to the city council in August, but I really can’t say what happened,” Montgomery said.

Because the council took no action, the city charter says the authority to redesign wards rests with the chief administrative officer, Montgomery said.

Now Montgomery will draw up new neighborhood maps, send them to the council and then to the county for review, he said.

“These changes should be relatively harmless,” Montgomery said. “It shouldn’t be like what’s happening in Columbus.”

Other action at the City Council meeting on Monday April 4 in Wooster

  • Council voted to waive a liquor license hearing for Pizza Hut located on Beall Avenue. It’s the latest in a chain of restaurants to receive a liquor license in Wooster.
  • An account will be created to hold the money received from the OneOhio Opioid settlement. The city will receive between $30,000 and $34,000 a year for about 18 years, city council member Craig Sanders said. That money can fund programs and departments like recovery and addictions, overdose prevention, and fire and police departments, according to the city.
  • The city is replacing 240 linear feet of six-inch ductile iron water pipes that ruptured from recent winter weather on the Palmer Street Railroad Bridge. It will cost about $150,000 from the city’s water fund.
  • Wooster will set aside $225,000 from the 2023 budget to purchase 3,000 tons of salt next year. The city uses an average of 4,500 tons of salt each year. This winter he used 3,400 tonnes with nearly 3,200 tonnes in reserve for next winter.

FOLLOWING: Council meeting Monday, April 18 at Wooster Town Hall.

Contact Bryce by email at [email protected]

On Twitter: @Bryce_Buyakie

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