Manila City Council met Thursday night to discuss and vote for or against an ordinance establishing new boundary lines for the three voting wards in Manila.
At the regular February meeting council members voted to read the ordinance redistricting the voting lines for the first time. A special meeting was set for Thursday, giving Manila citizens the opportunity to attend the meeting and make comments, before reading the ordinance a second and third time.
Manila Mayor Wayne Wagner opened the meeting with the one issue on the agenda.
Council members present were Larry "Whiz" Davis, Linda Donovan, Donnie Wagner, Dale Murphy, and Jason Baltimore. Councilman Tony Hawkins was absent.
"I did not, nor did any of the council members, draw the new map," Mayor Wagner said. "The East Arkansas Planning Commission did."
Mayor Wagner said he had requested the council members be able to stay in the same wards.
The Council members and their wards are: Donovan and Baltimore Ward 2; Donnie Wagner and Davis Ward 1; and Hawkins and Murphy in Ward 3.
Wagner pointed out the purpose of the redistricting is to have the same population in all three wards. He said there has been annexation and Ward 1 had more population than Ward 2 and 3 combined. Each council member should represent the same number of people.
Tracey Reinhart was present and said he didn't have any complaints and was interested in seeing where the proposed wards are and make sure there is proper representation west of town.
Mayor Wagner said he thinks there will be growth in all of the wards as every ward has building projects underway.
Councilman Murphy said the boundaries go by population and not registered voters.
"We know it needs to be done," Councilman Baltimore said. "I just hope it is being done for the right reasons."
"I know I am, "Mayor Wagner said. "This is what is right."
Dan Gamble was also present. He asked if the Manila voters vote at large why can't the councilman run at large?
Mayor Wagner said he was not sure if they can run at large and would have to research the laws for a First Class City.
"Let's say if I ran against Jason and lost the election but won in my ward and lost in the other two, could I file a complaint?" Gamble asked.
"No, Arkansas law allows wards and voting at large," Mayor Wagner said.
The council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance adopting the redistricting ward map as presented.
Mayor Wagner said he would get the information to the clerk's office giving anyone who wants to run for election information needed.
Redistricting lines are:
Ward 1 begins at the intersection of Boston Street and West Lake Street. That area north of Lake Street, west of Boston Street, to the intersection of Olympia Street and Boston Street, then north of Olympia Street, to the intersection of Olympia and Highway 18 then north of North Highway 18.
Ward 2 is east of Boston Street from Lake Street to Highway 18, south of Lake Street, north of Highway 18.
Ward 3 is south of Highway 18 to the intersection of Highway 18 and West Olympia Street, then south of West Olympia to the intersection of West Olympia and Boston Street, then west of Boston Street, to the intersection of South Boston and Highway 18 and then the area south of Highway 18.
The regular scheduled city council meeting will be 6 p.m. Monday, March 19. The meetings are held at city hall.