Due to Cleveland's declining population, Cleveland City Council will shrink when the ward boundaries are redrawn in 2013. The 19 member council will drop to 17 to maintain a balanced representation of 25,000 residents per council member as required by the city's charter.
Council President Martin J. Sweeney has enlisted consultant Bob Dykes to help draft the map which must be approved by a majority of members by April 1st. Sweeney says there are a lot of factors to consider when shaping the wards and he hopes to preserve neighborhood lines where possible.
Sweeney: "It's not like 2 wards are going to just disappear, I'm going to pick up a ward or the council is going to pick up a ward and say 'poof you're gone.' There are two ways to think about it, all the wards are going to change. It happened 2 years ago. Some more than others, just because of the population shift. And one theory is we have a blank canvas called the city of Cleveland, and we're going to draw 17 wards that represent the best interest of the people and we move on."
Cleveland's ward boundaries were last redrawn in 2009. The process created friction between council members who objected to the way their communities were carved up.
All council members come up for a vote in November, the same time Cleveland residents will choose a mayor.