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Changes proposed in adding two new wards in Lebanon

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By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post

A proposal to add two new wards to the Lebanon City Council will be considered at a work session next Tuesday as the councilors are slated to look at alterations to the current six wards made by City Planning Director Will Hager that would more evenly distribute the citys population.

Hager sent a new map to all six councilors on Thursday that showed slight adjustments to the current wards in order to give each ward a more even constituency. Hager requested feedback from the councilors before next Tuesdays work session.

According to the most recent population numbers from the 2010 U.S. Census, Ward 4, represented by Joe Hayes, is the largest ward with 4,887 residents, making it the largest of all six. Councilor Kathy Warmaths Ward 6 is the second largest with 4,761 residents.

Ward 2, represented by Kevin Huddleston, contains 4,530 residents; Ward 5 represented by Haywood Barry, contains 4,355 residents; Ward 1, represented by Alex Buhler, contains 4,165 residents; and Ward 3, represented by Rob Cesternino, contains 3,492 residents.

Hager indicated the equal goal of all six wards is 4,365 residents if the population was distributed evenly among those six. However, a new map that shows six slightly altered wards puts Ward 2 with 4,515 residents, making it the largest. Also, Ward 1 would become the second largest with 4,424 residents.

Wards 4, 5 and 6 would all be decreased in populations while Ward 3 would increase by 826 residents.

In his email to the councilors, Hager listed the major opposition to adding a seventh and eighth ward would be the cost of paying for two new councilors. He listed several pros, including the wards being divided along major streets, the Square being represented by three council members, a greater representation of the public due to fewer citizens per councilor and the accommodation of future growth.

Hager also noted the Wilson County Election Commission has asked that the city provide them with any changes to the current ward structure by April 13. If two more wards are created, there would be two more seats open for election on the council in addition to the seats for Ward 1, 2 and 5.

The council work session will take place on Tuesday, March 20 at 5 p.m. before the councils regular meeting to be held at 6 in the Town Meeting Hall, City of Lebanon Administration Building at Castle Heights.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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