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Council Districts Heavily Favored

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By Dave Freneaux

    The Mayor’s committee to research Districts & Term limits met Sunday at 4PM at the KC Hall.  With six committee members and a score of citizens in attendance the discussion on Districts focused not on WHETHER to move to Districts, but simply how many and whether any Council Members should be elected at-large.  The video of the meeting can be seen on CentralSpeaks.com by clicking the CentralSpeaksTV icon at the top of any screen.  Most of the research done so far by the committee seems to be anecdotal, with committee members sharing the overwhelming support they are hearing from other citizens.  With little exception, the committee reported a strong preference on the part of the citizens to move to Districts.

    Central’s Council Members are currently elected “At-Large”, meaning that each voter chooses votes for five candidates and the top five vote-getters are elected to the Council.  Members of the committee expressed during the meeting that having At-Large Council Elections has led to citizens in some areas of the City feeling like they have no representation.  Under Districts, the candidate elected from each district must live in that District and will be charged with doing what is best for the City as a whole, but specifically seeking to represent the concerns and needs of their District.  Committee members, Committee Chairman Councilman Wayne Messina, and members of the public commented that any Council Member, whether representing a District or not, has an obligation to represent all Central citizens.  Discussion of expanding the Council to seven members by creating seven districts or by adding two At-Large seats was met with some resistance.  Opponents pointed out that it adds over $20,000 per year to the City’s expenses and there has been no demonstrated need for additional Council Members.  Councilman Wayne Messina and another citizen spoke in favor of adding two to the Council and structuring the elections with five Districts and two At-Large. 

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