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September 24, 2012

City to hold public hearing on re-districting

PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh residents will get a chance to voice their feelings on a plan to re-district voting wards.

The Re-districting Committee will present its plan and hear comments from the public at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Common Council chambers of City Hall.

“I hope anyone with a strong feeling about how the wards are laid out will come and voice them,” said Councilor James Calnon (I-Ward 4), who served as liaison to the committee.

The committee is chaired by Peter Ensel and also includes James Barcomb, Peggy de Grandpre, Anne-Marie Farrell and Becky Kasper.

The group was charged with the task of re-configuring the city’s six wards based on population figures tabulated in the 2010 U.S. Census, which showed the city’s population at 19,989.

‘NO NEGATIVE’

Based on that number, the six wards needed to have about 3,332 people each. The committee was allowed to use a variance of 5 percent below the average and 5 percent above, which put the range at 3,165 and 3,498.

Ward 2 had 4,495 people, due to growth on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base property, and had to be significantly changed. Two dormitories on the campus of Plattsburgh State have tentatively been moved from Ward 2 to Ward 3, which only had 2,904 people.

“We had five reasonable people on the committee who did a great job of keeping the negative things off the table and just did their best to try to make sense of the population changes,” Calnon said.

CAN MAKE CHANGES

Within 30 days after the public hearing, the committee will formally present its recommendations to the Common Council. The council can accept them or send them back to the committee with suggestions.

The committee can then make changes if it wants, and re-submit their plan to the council. If that doesn’t work, a state judge will make a final determination, Calnon said.

“I think this process will go smoothly though,” he said. “The committee did a very good job.”

New districts are to take affect in 2013.

Email Joe LoTemplio: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

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