Cortland City Council approves new map for city neighborhoods – Cortland Voice


(Photo via the City of Cortland website).

Cortland City Common Council voted 4-1 in favor of a new map that includes redrawn neighborhood boundaries based on 2020 US Census data at Tuesday’s meeting.

The new neighborhoods were redesigned by county planners using census data. It aims to establish fair representative districts based on the latest population figures. The city’s eight neighborhoods each have a similar number of residents, based on the total number of 17,556 residents enumerated in the 2020 survey.

According to the redistribution laws, neighborhoods must stay within 5% plus or minus of about 2,200 residents per neighborhood. This number is the total population of Cortland divided by the number of wards, which is eight.

The most notable change in the approved map is an extension of the Second Ward, which would extend to the northern city limits.

(Cortland Town District Map provided by the Cortland County Planning Department).

At the meeting, City Councilor Tom Michales (R-8th Ward) discussed the possibility of casting a vote. Michales was the only board member who voted against approving the card.

“There are certain considerations and things that weren’t taken into account when these limits were set. The Cortland County Electoral Council office informed me that they were not aware of this, ”he said.

Michaels added that the Elections Council is an important player when it comes to redistribution.

City mayor Brian Tobin has said he does not want to postpone the vote any longer, as county planners are on a schedule before county and state redistribution efforts begin.

“This (map comes from) professional planners who are responsible for leading (city redistribution efforts),” Tobin said. “They have a deadline and what we have done is work with them to help them meet their deadline.”

Savannah Hempstead, the clerk of the Cortland County Legislature, attended Tuesday’s meeting. She noted that the county’s priority is to have a fair redistribution process.

“One of the requirements of the redistribution law is to make the constituencies as uniform as possible so that we don’t have municipal wards outside the legislative districts,” Hempstead said. “We try to meet as many requirements as possible.”

Hempstead said the county planning department sticks to data when making decisions.

“County planning is all about numbers. They don’t play any political or favorite games, ”she said. “Everything is based on census data. They will redraw the lines as needed.

Michaels also expressed concerns about the accuracy of census data.

“We all know census data has not been so accurate in recent years because people are not responding to their senders,” he said. “We really don’t know how it’s going to affect people before the fact. “

Tobin supported pushing for the vote to accept the new card. He noted that the city’s redistribution efforts could help the county’s action plan.

“What we could do now is improve where the lines are. This would allow the county planners and the electoral board not only to draw the city wards, but also to do a potential redistribution to the county level. Tobin said.

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