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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Celina ready to set new ward lines

By William Kincaid
CELINA - City council members are poised to set new ward lines that could pit two members against each other in the 2013 election.
If approved, new ward lines would be drawn that would put Myron Buxton and Mike Sovinski in Ward 1.
No one objected to the proposed change during a community betterment committee meeting held this week to discuss the issue. Sovinski and Buxton were at the meeting.
Committee members recommended drafting an ordinance to set the new ward lines, which would be in accordance with the new city precincts recently approved by the Mercer County Board of Elections. Ward and precinct changes would go into effect next year.
Total populations in the city's four wards vary from 1,925 to 3,278, according to Mercer County Board of Elections member Toni Slusser. The new boundaries would more evenly split the population with wards varying in size from 2,342 to 2,871 people.
The new wards would follow the precinct boundaries, created by using alleys, streets, railroads and easements. Not having split precincts saves the city election costs and prevents voter confusion.
The four city council ward seats are up for re-election in 2013. Ward 1 is served by Myron Buxton; Ward 2, Mike Sovinski; Ward 3, Ed Jeffries; and Ward 4, Angie King.
The new proposal separates the wards using Main Street, with wards 1 and 2 east of Main Street and wards 3 and 4 west of Main Street.
The current proposal is:
• Ward 1, with a current population of 3,278 people, would be reduced to 2,871 people from precincts A and B, located northeast of Main Street.
• Ward 2, with a current population of 2,287 people, would increase to 2,517 people from precincts C and D, which are located on the east and southeast portion of town. Some officials questioned if the geographical size of this proposed ward is too large.
• Ward 3, with a current population of 1,925 people, would increase to 2,670 people from precincts E and F located on the west and southwest part of town.
• Ward 4, with a current population of 2,911, would reduce to 2,342 people from precincts G and H, located on the west and northwest part of town.
The board of elections staff would like to see the city change its wards by Dec. 7 because mailings must be sent to all voters notifying them of changes to city precincts, congressional districts and other information.
Council members likely will go over first reading of the ordinance at their next regular meeting, 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at city hall. A proposed map will be shown and they will be asking for public comment.
Board of election members recently reduced the city's precincts, which are formed based on voter population, from 10 to 8. The board had to make the changes due to House Bill 194, which passed this summer and requires incorporated municipalities to have at least 500 active registered voters in a precinct.
Additional online story on this date
An elderly Mercer County man was treated and then released following an accident late Tuesday morning when he reportedly drove his car the wrong way on a divided highway east of Celina. [More]
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