The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021

VW Council to discuss ward boundaries

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

Figures from the 2020 U.S. Census show Van Wert’s population has shifted, which will necessitate an adjustment of ward boundaries within the city limits.

During Monday night’s Van Wert City Council meeting, Mayor Ken Markward said the existing ward boundary lines were drawn 50 years ago.

Mayor Ken Markward talks to City Council about changing boundaries to even out each of the City of Van Wert’s four wards. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

“Right now the third ward has about 30 percent more people in it than the first ward,” Markward explained. “Ideally each ward would have about 2,775 people and in order to get that each of the wards would either have to gain or lose a certain amount of people. Washington Street has served us well as the dividing line for many years but right now we have about 54 percent of people living west of Washington so somehow that line is going to have to drift.”

“We’re allowed to cut through yards but it’s easier if we can go down a street, so we’re using the data from the Census Bureau to determine how to balance out the wards,” the mayor added. “Ohio Revised Code says Council has three months after the Secretary of State issues his proclamation, which was the end of September, and then we have a city ordinance that says if for some reason they don’t do it then the safety-service director is authorized to make those lines.”

Markward presented four different options that he came up with but added there are numerous possibilities. He also said he has no preference when it comes to evening out the boundaries and he added any change would take effect with the May, 2023 primary election.

The matter will be discussed further during a “committee of the whole” meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, November 8.

The mayor told Council that a little over 200 clean-up vouchers have been picked up so far and he said the citywide cleanup has been extended until Friday, October 29. Slightly less than 100 vouchers are left and can be picked up at the city Water Office in the Van Wert Municipal Building, 515 E. Main St.

Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming told Council members that work will start next week on Market Street and he noted Dominion Energy is doing work near the Sheriff’s Department, with a goal of finishing by the end of the year.

During her report to Council, City Auditor Martha Balyeat noted that income tax revenue is 13 to 14 percent ahead of this time last year and she said budgets from department heads are due this week. She added she’ll have a proposed 2022 budget ready for review at the next meeting.

Law Director John Hatcher informed council that Lt. Jonathon Gray, Commander of the Van Wert Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, is retiring this Friday and he thanked him for his service.

In other business, Council members heard the first reading of an ordinance approving and adopting an indigent burial policy of up to $1,000 within the city limits.

Before the regular meeting, a lengthy “committee of the whole” meeting was held to discuss various parking issues, including heavy vehicles on city streets and parking in yards. Pending legislation is expected to address those issues.

The next meeting of Van Wert City Council will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, October 25, in Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, 515 E. Main St.

POSTED: 10/12/21 at 3:52 am. FILED UNDER: News