Bloomington delays deadline on public feedback on new ward maps
The city of Bloomington plans to delay its deadline for public feedback on changes to the city's ward boundaries.
The city has started the process of redrawing maps for its nine wards following the 2020 census. The council in March set a timetable to have new maps in place this summer ahead of candidate filings for the 2023 municipal elections.
The city planned to take new map recommendations through June 1, but Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus said during Monday’s city council meeting city staff is still reviewing census data. He said the city plans to post the data online soon.
“There’s a lot of data. We’ve been working through some of that information and we wanted to make sure we didn’t just dump data on the website and then just leave it to folks to come up with their own ideas,” Tyus said.
Tyus said the public will now have until mid to late June to make recommendations for the city's wards.
In the resolution the council approved in March, the city plans to draw wards that are contiguous and reasonably compact, avoid fragmenting or packing minority communities, don’t “dilute the voting strength of racial minority populations” and be nearly equal in population and follow precinct boundaries.
Census data show Bloomington added 2.5% more residents since the 2010 census, but growth was uneven. For example, southeast Bloomington’s Ward 8 (council member Jeff Crabill’s ward) is 25% above the city’s median of about 8.700 residents. Ward 7 in northwest Bloomington (council member Molly Ward’s ward) is 12% below the median.
Tyus said city staff will take public feedback and draft several map options for the council to consider. The city planned to discuss map options during its non-voting meeting in June and vote in July.
It's not clear how the data delay will impact that timeline. City attorney Jeff Jurgens has said the city wants to have the new maps in place by August so candidates in the April 2023 races know which ward they live in.