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Public invited to provide input on proposed wards in Martinsburg

November 07, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A meeting will be held Nov. 16 to receive public input on the new proposed boundaries of the city’s five wards, which are used in Martinsburg City Council elections.

The meeting sponsored by the City of Martinsburg Redistricting Committee is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall at 232 N. Queen St.

Five members of the city council are elected by the residents of a particular ward. Two council members are elected at-large by voters citywide. The city’s next election is scheduled for June 12, 2012.

The ward lines had to be redrawn in the wake of the city’s population growth documented by the 2010 census.

The most substantial change in the proposed ward line changes reflect the city’s growth west of Interstate 81, according to the current and proposed maps released Monday by City Recorder Gena Long.

“Our proposed wards (according to legal counsel) are within 1 percent of the perfect number of 3,450 residents per ward,” Long said.

Areas west of I-81 were moved from Ward 3 to Ward 1, which remains centered in the northwestern area of the city. Ward 2, which appears to be the most compact of the proposed districts, would shift westward, and neighborhoods in the city’s southeastern end would be moved into Ward 5. Ward 4 also would give up several blocks on the city’s east side to Ward 5, reconfiguring the district to stretch from the northeast to the southeastern ends of the city.

Ward 4, which currently includes much of the city’s historic business district, will continue as such, but also take in relatively new annexed areas in the city’s north end that are currently in Ward 5.

Long said the state legislative redistricting office was “very helpful” in reviewing the city’s proposed map and helping to make minor adjustments.

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