Logansport City Council recently approved some minor redistricting of its council wards.
Federal law requires such redistricting in accordance with population shifts reflected in the U.S. Census.
Logansport Community Development Director Chris Armstrong and Logansport City Attorney Randy Head spearheaded the effort. They were tasked with redrawing the city’s five city council districts so that they contained as close to the same population as possible, which resulted in about 3,561 people per ward.
Armstrong and Head said they were able to keep the lines where they were as much as possible, but some minor changes resulted.
“They are roughly the same, but they are not exactly the same,” Head told council members at a committee meeting earlier this month. “We tried not to make anyone move too much. It has not been done to help or hurt anyone or make a race harder for anyone.”
The city uses streets as borders for its council wards. However, the U.S. Census Bureau goes by blocks, which are then split into tracts, the borders of which are determined by population. City officials were able to redraw the ward lines based on the population blocks, but it has yet to be determined which streets the ward lines have shifted to.
Armstrong said most of the changes occurred along the borders of the city’s 1st Ward, represented by Bob Bishop, and the 3rd Ward, represented by Gary Fox. There were also changes along the borders of the 3rd Ward and the 4th Ward, represented by Chuck LaDow.
“I don’t think it’s going to make a major change for any of them,” Armstrong said.
Fox said at a city council meeting Monday because the new maps have yet to include streets, he is unable to tell whether or not his residence is in his district.
Because federal law requires the city to adopt the changes before 2014, Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin encouraged council members to approve the changes, adding the resolution could be amended in the future to ensure Fox’s residence remains in his district.
The motion passed 6-1, with Fox dissenting.
Franklin said the next step is to have the changes certified with the Cass County Clerk’s Office.
On Thursday, Cass County Clerk Beth Liming said she had yet to receive anything from the city reflecting council ward changes, but that it is procedure to notify those affected when such a change occurs.
Bishop, Fox and LaDow serve on the seven-seat council along with Joe Buck, who represents the 2nd Ward, Teresa Popejoy, who represents the 5th Ward, and Charlie Hastings and Jeremy Ashcraft, who both represent the city at-large.
A recently annexed territory to the southeast of the city was assigned to the 5th ward. If the city wins a lawsuit filed by landowners of a proposed annexation territory to its southwest, the area will be assigned to the 2nd Ward.
In other news, the council also:
• Amended an ordinance approving County Economic Development Income Tax funds to Carter Fuel Systems after Carter Fuel Systems purchased the Logansport Federal Mogul plant, as the amendment had previously addressed Federal Mogul.
• Approved the adoption of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
• Approved the acceptance of two grants for the Logansport Parks and Recreation Department. The department received $4,000 to create sidewalks and landscaping at Memorial Park and $3,750 for playground safety surfacing at the Benjamin Long Recreation Center, Dykeman Park, Melbourne Park, Patriot Park and Spencer Park.
• Approved the transfer of $113,336.93 within the Logansport Fire Department’s budget. Officials say the transfer will supplement savings to replace a fire engine in the future that is about 14 years old.
• Amended an ordinance approving the purchase of a ladder truck for the fire department. The ordinance previously addressed a ladder truck the fire department did not purchase and was changed to reflect the truck it did purchase last month.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him: @PharosMAK