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Voting district lines redrawn in City of NR

New Richmond elected officials have settled on a new aldermanic map of the city.

Following each 10-year census of the U.S., units of government must approve a "redistricting" plan to ensure that elected officials represent a relatively similar number of constituents.

With a significant population hike and shift in New Richmond over the past decade, the districts and wards of the community had to change.

At the City Council's regular meeting June 15, Mayor Fred Horne said the goal was to keep the voting district "as close to the current districts as they could."

City Clerk Joe Bjelland used special mapping software to ensure that each ward and district included the appropriate number of residents.

"This is the best we could do with what we had," said Tanya Reigel, deputy clerk. "It meets all the criteria."

Alderman Jane Hansen said she would have liked more time to review the proposed map, but Reigel said a decision needed to be made within the next couple weeks in order to meet state requirements.

The council voted unanimously to approve the new map. Aldermen Jim Zajkowski and Craig Kittel were absent from the meeting.

The council members did discuss the idea of doing away with the aldermanic districts in favor of a electing representatives on an at-large basis.

Alderman Kirk Van Blaircom said the idea had some merit, because more candidates would likely run for office when election time came.

"I think it's something we should think about," he said.

But others weren't so sure.

Even though he initially thought the idea made sense, Alderman Ron Volkert said he had changed his mind.

By electing aldermen based on wards and districts, Volkert explained, each part of the community has some representation on the council.

If all of the council members were elected at-large, Volkert suggested, the city "could have six people all living in Southview."

"That could be a problem," he said. "I like having representation all across the city."

Hansen and Horne agreed, so the matter was dropped.