Ballot proposition: Yonkers asks voters to consider ward boundaries

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With six proposed amendments to the state Constitution already on the ballot, voters in Yonkers are also tasked Tuesday with considering the fate of a local proposition.

The question being asked of city residents: should the plan proposed by the (Ward Reapportionment Commission) for new ward boundaries be adopted?

First off, it’s important to note that ward boundaries are not related to City Council redistricting, which Yonkers officials grappled with earlier this year.

Every 10 years after the federal census, the city must redraw the boundaries of its wards to provide for 12 districts of substantially equal population. These wards help the five constituted political parties determine their hierarchy, and can also impact election districts.

According to city officials, the commission, a bi-partisan five-member panel appointed by the mayor, submitted several plans to the City Council. But the council failed to act within 60 days of receiving those recommendations or develop its own proposal, prompting Yonkers to put up one of the plans for a vote in November as required by the City Charter.

The proposal on the ballot makes no change to the existing ward lines or election districts, according to Jason Baker, a spokesman for Mayor Mike Spano. If the plan is not passed, the commission would reconvene.

Baker said the mayor supports the plan. But City Council President Chuck Lesnick does not.

“It’s not cost effective and will waste taxpayer money,” Lesnick said in a statement. “The Westchester County Board of Elections will have a greater opportunity to save money if they are able to adjust the ward boundaries drawn in 2012 with the local council district lines redrawn this year. That can only happen if this proposal is defeated.”

For more information and to view maps of the current ward boundaries, click here.

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