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City Council to Consider Make-up of Seven Member Council

  01/24/12 The 2010 Census determined the population of the City of Plymouth to be 10,033. During the Common Council meeting Monday evening City Attorney Nelson Chipman said, “No longer do we have the option of staying at five council members, but instead we are required by law to have seven.”  He continued, “You do have the option of establishing five council members plus two at-large seats, or remaining at four council member districts with three at-large seats. “ Chipman said, “It is the recommendation of the administration that council remain at four districts with three at-large members elected by all city voters.

The intent and purpose of this ordinance is to establish and implement for the next municipal elections, both primary and general, and all subsequent elections, a Common Council for the City of Plymouth consisting of four residents, one from each of the four districts, and three at-large members consisting of residents residing anywhere within the City of Plymouth.

The attorney said there were two reasons why the administration was recommending keeping the four districts; “the practical matter of soliciting or encouraging people to run for a council seat is not that easy and the three at-large seats man not require too much on the mandated redistricting.

Chipman explained that redistricting is required every 10 years.  He said, “This is a constitutional issue, and we are required to make each district as equal possible.  The courts say the variation from the highest population to the lowest population in the districts can be no more that 10% difference.  He showed a map the census workers used when the counted the people and explained that they are already working on the necessary changes but they can’t complete the redistricting until the Common Council approves Ordinance 2012-2030 establishing a seven member Common Council consisting of four district members and three at-large.

The City Attorney suggested allowing the public the opportunity to discuss the seven member council by passing the ordinance on second reading at their next meeting and following up with the third reading at their final meeting in February.