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Rochester redistricting timeline, policy set for review

Maps of proposed new wards are expected in mid-February, with final adoption slightly more than a month later.

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A timeline and policy for redrawing Rochester City Council wards will be reviewed Monday.

Ward borders must be revisited every 10 years, following the U.S. Census, to equalize the number of residents in each of the six areas represented by a single council member.

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Rochester’s new census numbers show all the wards have grown at varied rates from 5.9% to 24.7% since the current boundaries were drawn, which means some adjustments are needed to get close to the ideal 20,233 residents per ward.
The city’s proposed plan calls for the final updated ward map to be approved on March 21, eight days before the required deadline.

The city must wait until the state’s legislative districts are redrawn, which is required to be done by Feb. 15.

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Proposed city ward maps are expected to be ready by mid-February, followed by at least two weeks of review before a final map is selected for consideration by the council.

The city, along with Olmsted County, has scheduled several listening sessions leading up to the creation of the map options, and city staff has indicated community discussions will continue once options are identified.

The updated redistricting policy also states: “The City will not draw wards based on the residence of incumbent officeholders and will not consider past election results when drawing wards.”

While redistricting could cause a ward boundary to shift a sitting council member’s home outside the current ward, state guidelines say the council member is allowed to complete the existing term, but cannot seek re-election without moving into the new ward boundaries.

The council will review the updated policy and timeline during its regular meeting at 6:15 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center. The meeting is open to the public, and it will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.


UPCOMING MEETINGS

Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of Dec. 6 include:

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Rochester

• City Council study session, 3:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.

• City Council, 6:15 p.m. Monday in council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.

• Park Board, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Dial-in information for listening to the meeting live can be requested by emailing parknrec@rochestermn.gov . Video will be posted online following the meeting.

• Energy Commission, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Access information is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas

• Planning and Zoning Commission, 6 p.m. Wednesday. Access information is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas

• Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Access information is available at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas

Olmsted County

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• Human Rights Commission, 6 p.m. Thursday in conference room 2 of the city-county Government Center.

Rochester Public Schools

• School Board, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom of the Edison Building, 615 Seventh St. SW.

Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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