Youngstown ward redistricting approved

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown city wards will finally have new boundaries after a unanimous vote at Wednesday night’s city council meeting.

It took nearly two years to get the map figured out. Voters approved a charter amendment in 2012 to have the lines redrawn, which is actually supposed to be done every 10 years following the census. But it has been more than 30 years since Youngstown’s wards have been redrawn.

“Now there is an equal population in each ward and the law says that is what you should do,” City Council President Chuck Sammarone said.

As the population decreased over the years, it left council members with differences in the number of people they represent.

“I am glad it happened. With the law, we had to do it. They had been talking about it for about a year,” Sammarone said.

The new ward boundary lines will go into effect early next year. But, there are still issues that will need addressed.

“We talked about the people issue, but we still have not talked about the massive land issue,” 6th Ward Councilwoman Janet Tarpley said.

How far the dollar goes will be an issue for some of the wards. When the boundaries shift, each will receive an equal cut of the money.

“Everything is divided by seven. Seven wards, we divide paving roads by seven,” 4th Ward Councilman Mike Ray said.

But the money distributed does not account for the difference between how big each of the wards are geographically.

Tarpley said that means each ward will get the same amount of money, but the wards with larger land mass will be able to do less with those funds, especially when it comes to paving.

The boundary lines were approved by a 6-0 vote. Second ward councilman TJ Rodgers was absent.

To make things more complicated, a citizens referendum may appear on the November ballot that would reduce the number of city wards from seven to five.

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