By JESSI PIERCE
As the redistricting deadline of April 3 gets closer, Brainerd City Administrator Dan Vogt presented the first reading of proposed changes to both wards and precincts in Brainerd during the Brainerd City Council meeting Monday night.
Council members unanimously approved the changes, with the public encouraged to approach with questions on the changes during the next public hearing.
"We wanted to minimize the amount of impact on voters but follow the statute, too," said Vogt. Vogt said during the March 5 Brainerd City Council meeting that a redistricting is necessary by state statute due to the latest 2010 census numbers and population changes seen in Brainerd.
Targeting 3,406 people in each of the four wards, Vogt said Ward 1 was 285 below average and will see the biggest amount of change.
"Ward 2 had 3,500 and with Ward 1 quite a ways under the number we wanted, I knew I had to take some people from Ward 2," said Vogt. "The proposal is to take the area south of College Drive, primarily effecting just the Pines Apartments, out of Ward 2 and in to Ward 1. Those people would then also be voting at Trinity Church.
"There was a small block just south of Franklin School, and people in that area, because they were in Ward 3 they had to drive to Lowell, so I eliminated that block from Ward 3 and included it in Ward 2.
"And a shift in Ward 4 would now include Broadway and South Ninth Street, primarily the people in Bethany (Good Samaritan)."
Proposed numbers in wards were changed as follows:
Ward 1: From current 3,161 to 3,321
Ward 2: From current 3,505 to 3,385
Ward 3: From current 3,493 to 3,488
Ward 4: From current 3,465 to 3,409
Precincts were also altered to better accommodate the latest statute.
"We tried to get our precincts as equal as possible," Vogt said. "We had a necessary change in Ward 2, so now people east of McKay Road and north of the (Mississippi) River would be in Precinct 2-2."
"What we wanted to do to was move people around in Ward 1, too, because Precinct 1-2 had an overload of people voting, with 2,000 people in 1-2 and 1,000 in 1-1, so we moved people west of South Ninth Street who would vote at Trinity Church in 1-1 and everyone else in Ward 1 would vote in 1-2 at the Church of Latter-day Saints."
Vogt said that a public notice will be sent out to residents to further break down specific boundaries of wards and precincts.