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City of Platte City
redesigns voting wards

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

The Platte City Board of Alderman took action Tuesday evening to amend the voting wards in Platte City to comply with the intent of a state statute and balance the levels of population within the city's three wards.

"With the city's growth in the last couple of years and availability of the 2000 census data, staff felt it prudent to assess whether the population of our current wards complied with the 'intent' of state statutes," said Keith Moody, city administrator.

"In November of 1998 the city re-districted its wards sizing them to allow for as much growth as possible in the east and south before re-districting. Staff completed this redistricting by estimating populations in the existing wards. According to our tabulations in 1998 our population was 2,966."

The state statute calls for a balancing of the wards which allows for equal representation. According to Mayor Frank Offutt, due to the recent 2000 census, the City of Platte City decided it would have to, "tweak the ward boundaries."

"The state statutes are not specific as to how much deviation in population is allowed between wards. MARC (Mid-America Regional Council) has provided a guide based on court decisions," stated Moody.

"These rulings establish a 10 percent deviation from the average ward population as acceptable. Our population according to the 2000 Census was 3,866. The average ward population is 1,288 (3,866 divided by 3 wards). Applying a 10 percent deviation allows for a 1,159 minimum ward population to a 1,416 maximum ward population."

The proposed ward populations are in Ward 1-1,422, Ward 2-1,276, Ward 3-1,168 for a total of 3,866.

The mayor stated that Ward 1 and Ward 2 received a slight shift of boundaries to include a few additional blocks.

"Staff has again structured the populations in a way that allows for as much growth as possible in the wards (II & III) that we know will growth. This provides for the longest period of time before the process will need to occur again. If we see 300 new people in Ward II and 400 new people in Ward III without any growth in Ward I, we will need to re-district," said Moody.

"The boundaries proposed are nearly the same as before. Ward I has been enlarged to the maximum population as this area has little potential for additional growth. Ward II and Ward III have smaller populations as both of these wards anticipate rapid growth in the near future. This allows a greater time before having to redistrict again," Moody explained.

The board of aldermen also announced passing annexation in Platte City to include the I-29 corridor to I-435. The city boundaries are now changed to meet the Kansas City city limits. The original petition for the annexation was filed by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Aldermen also announced a resolution amending the speed limit on Fourth Street from Maple Drive to Blake from 35 mph to 25 mph due to speeding complaints in that area.

"For the safety and general welfare of our citizens, the board decided to modify the speed limit from 35 to 25 mph," said Offutt.

Mayor Offutt also announced the City of Platte City is entering into an agreement with the Mid-America Regional Council Solid Waste Management District for a Regional Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection program. The program will offer cost effective household hazardous waste services. The cost to the city is $.77 per capita for the year 2002, with adjustments to be made annually.