Redistricting wards for the city is to be discussed at the next City Council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 17.
Originally scheduled for the April council meeting, the business was postponed for the presentation by Jeff Hawkins, director of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission.
According to a letter from Hawkins to Mayor Jackie Crabtree, a statistical evaluation of city wards, utilizing 2020 census records revealed that the deviation in 2020 population among wards is 14.1%, above the 10% threshold allowed by law.
"With redistricting necessary as a result of the population growth that has taken place, it would also be an opportune time for consideration of re-apportioning the city into three wards," Hawkins wrote. He said the state statute vests the City Council with the authority to add wards. He said the matter of adding a ward was most recently discussed in 2018.
Hawkins said presented three alternative redistricting plans for review by city officials. He said each would equalize population among wards to acceptable level. One plan is for two wards and two plans show three wards.
The current numbers show Ward 1 (on the east side of the city) to have 3,071 residents and Ward 2 to have 3,538 residents.
Council members were presented with the letter and proposals at the April meeting.
Items on the agenda include:
• Police Chief Lynn Hahn presenting awards;
• Accepting bids for street overlay and mastic seal;
• Accepting bids for six police vehicle upfits;
• Ord. 765, amending municipal code 15.04.04 subdivision regulations; and
• Approving appointment of Carolyne Wendel to Planning Commission.
The meeting is open to the public.