Charleston City Council to vote on ward map Monday – Charleston Gazette-Mail


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At its meeting Monday evening, Charleston City Council will vote on the final approval of the city’s new ward map.

The council’s Planning, Streets and Traffic Committee earlier this week approved a version of the map with 11 wards on the north side of the Kanawha River and nine wards on the south side of the river.

City officials have said they hoped the city would finalize the map at its Nov. 15 meeting.

COVID-19 delayed the release of census data for months earlier this year, leaving the city and other municipalities in a time crunch to get redistricting completed ahead of the 2022 election.

City officials have aimed to finish the city’s ward map in time for the Kanawha County Commission to incorporate its wards when it sets its precincts.

Charleston’s population was down to 48,864 during the 2020 census. The city’s goal with redistricting is have wards with as close to equal population as possible.

Also on the agenda for Monday, city council will consider a resolution from Councilwoman Jennifer Pharr to create a select committee to research reducing the size of city council from its current 26 members.

Besides redistricting, city council will also consider a bill to create a Public Arts Commission to "provide planning, advocacy, and funding of public art projects in the city."

Council's Ordinance and Rules Committee met earlier this week and approved a committee substitute of the bill. Under that version of the bill, the commission will consist of nine members appointed by the mayor.

The commission will include an artist; a city council member; an art professional; an urban planner or developer; an architect, landscape architect or horticulturist; and four will be members of the public who work or live in Charleston.

As a part of the bill, the Wayfinding Commission will be eliminated and its duties transferred to the Public Arts Commission. An earlier version of the bill would have eliminated the city's Beautification Commission, but the committee substitute version keeps it intact.

Also on the agenda:

  • A resolution authorizing the city to apply to the state Division of Homeland Security for $31,550 in funds to purchase a server and external hard drives for the Charleston Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division
  • A resolution authorizing the city to apply to the state Division of Homeland Security for $59,000 to perform a cyber security assessment of the city’s computer network
  • A resolution authorizing the city to apply to the Division of Homeland Security for $25,000 in funds to provide maintenance and repairs to the radio towers utilized by the Charleston fire and police departments
  • A resolution authorizing the city to apply to state Division of Homeland Security for $10,000 in funds to purchase Stop the Bleed kits for Charleston Police Department patrol vehicles.
  • A resolution authorizing the city to enter into agreements to purchase gasoline and fuel through bids to be received by the Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority
  • A resolution authorizing budget amendments for the general fund
  • A resolution authorizing a contract for $25,199 with Nitro Construction for the purchase and installation of indoor and outdoor security cameras for the North Charleston Community Center
  • A resolution allowing the city to purchase playground equipment, a shade system, a bench, a table, a playground border, and woodchip surface from Miracle Recreation Equipment for $28,461 for the Beatrice Street Park.

Lori Kersey covers the city and county. She can be reached at 304-348-1240 or [email protected] Follow @LoriKerseyWV on Twitter.

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