The Brainerd City Council Monday adopted an ordinance amending the ward boundaries within the city.
Redistricting was required to balance the number of constituents in each ward based on census population.
Slight changes were made to the boundaries of Wards 3 and 4. Ward 1 shifted east and no longer includes any land west of the Mississippi River. Ward 2 picks up the former Ward 1 property west of the river.
A week ago, Crow Wing County Board members discussed their redistricting plan. Commissioners Terry Sluss, Gil Dewes and Ed Larsen expressed criticism of the city's plan at the meeting. County commissioner districts cannot split a city precinct or ward.
Council member Bob Olson jokingly asked City Administrator Dan Vogt Monday if he had made any other county commissioners mad with the redistricting plan. Vogt said he had not heard from any commissioners and the first he had heard that commissioners Sluss, Dewes and Larsen were upset was in Wednesday's Dispatch.
Sluss, who represents County District 3, said in an interview Thursday, he believes the city's plan, especially the changes in Ward 2, do not serve the public's best interest. Ward 2 now includes all the property west of the Mississippi River.
Sluss also said the demographics in the ward are varied, noting the ward includes elderly, college students and families living in single dwelling households. Sluss said these people have different needs and it would be a lot of work for one person to represent this ward because of the varied demographics.
Vogt said the city set the ward boundaries considering the best interests of the citizens of Brainerd. He said using the Mississippi River as a boundary will make it easier for Brainerd residents to determine their ward, which will make it simpler for residents to determine their voting location. The precinct west of the river will vote at Riverside Elementary School.
He said the city did not study or consider commissioner district boundaries when determining the city wards. He said the city tried to use obvious landmarks such as the railroad line and the river when establishing ward and precinct boundaries.
The First Ward is the area south of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad line to the city's southern limits, and between the Mississippi River and parts of South Sixth Street and the spur line trail.
The Second Ward is all the area of the city west and northwest of the Mississippi River, and the area north of Washington Street from the river to between North Eighth and North 11th streets. The 1,000 acres annexed in 2000, including Wise Road and Dal-Mar Drive, are in the Second Ward.
The Third Ward is all the area of northeast Brainerd north of Washington Street and the railroad tracks, from the east boundary with the Second Ward -- a line jutting from North Eighth Street to North 11th Street -- to the city's eastern city limits.
The Fourth Ward is all the area southeast of the railroad tracks and Washington Street to the city's southern and eastern boundaries, and borders South Sixth Street on the west.
The council Monday also adopted a resolution amending the boundaries of the precincts within the wards.
Brainerd residents with questions about wards or precincts can call Brainerd City Hall at 828-2309.
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