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Local News

November 6, 2012

Public voices no objections to city redistricting

ONEONTA — No major objections were raised to proposed city ward realignments during a public hearing Monday night.

About 10 residents, including two Common Council members and the mayor, attended the hearing on the proposed plan for the city’s eight wards.

Redistricting Commission members reviewed the plan that adjusts ward lines, and they answered questions during the 45-minute hearing in Common Council Chambers in City Hall.

Though the ward lines were moved to adjust population, the proposed map preserves the city’s historic and political areas, such as the Sixth Ward, the Walnut Street and Belmont Circle areas, they said.

Commission member Richard Denicore said the panel will meet again to review remarks from the hearing and finalize its report on the redistricting process. The commission probably will make its final recommendation to the Common Council at the Nov. 20 meeting, he said, and the proposed plan is likely the one to be moved forward.

The Common Council has the authority to adopt the plan, Denicore said.

The Redistricting Commission was formed this year and was charged by the City Charter to apply the principles of “one person, one vote’’ and of the federal and state constitutional equal protection clauses. The proposed final redistricting plan is online at https://sites.google.com/site/oneontaredistricting.

The city’s ward lines haven’t been adjusted since the city adopted eight wards instead of six in the 1970s.

Project consultant Joshua Simons of the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach at the State University College at New Paltz said the online report has space for comments, which may still be submitted. The city of Oneonta was far out of compliance with the constitutional requirement of revising the districts every 10 years based on census data, he said, and the update meets requirements.

Oneonta’s revised ward map, as a matter of home-rule, isn’t subject to county, state or federal review, Simons said in response to a question, and the map would withstand any legal challenge.

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