WATERVILLE — Residents of four city wards will find themselves in neighboring wards if the City Council takes a final vote next week to approve a redistricting proposal.

The council took a first vote last week to amend a city ordinance governing ward configuration after City Clerk Patti Dubois explained the redrawing of ward lines is required if, after the U.S. census is conducted, the number of inhabitants in any one ward is found to exceed the number of people in any other ward by 10%. She is required to notify the council, which is responsible for redistricting via city ordinance, she said.

The population shifts over time and Wards 2, 3 and 4 lost population over the past 10 years, while Ward 6 gained population, Dubois said. Ward 6 extends approximately from the southern portion of downtown south into the South End and beyond. It is roughly bordered to the west by Burleigh Street and to the east by the Kennebec River.

Dubois told city councilors last week the population of Waterville is 16,827, and wards are divided to have about 2,400 residents each. The city tries to make boundaries run along railroad tracks, rivers, roads and other boundaries already in neighborhoods.

The council voted 7-0 to give preliminary approval to the redistricting plan.

The rules stipulate that if the home of a city councilor is placed outside of the ward from which he or she is elected, that office shall not be deemed vacant and the councilor shall continue to serve out the term for which he or she was elected.


“The redistricting of ward lines is required,” Dubois said, “and it’s to even out the population of the wards so there’s equal representation.”

To do that, the city had to take a few blocks away from Ward 6 and give them to the abutting Wards 2, 3 and 4, according to Dubois.

A few blocks from the northeast corner of Ward 6 were moved to Ward 2, from Getchell Street south to Hathaway Street and Leighton Street, including the area from Main Street to Front Street, she said.

Another piece of the northwest corner of Ward 6 was moved to Ward 3, she said. It includes the area from North Street down to Gilman Street, and from Burleigh Street and West Street over to Middle Street, including Morrill Avenue and Carroll Street, including the north side of Gilman Street.

The part of Ward 6 to be moved to Ward 4 includes the westerly portion of Burleigh Street, from the Winter Street intersection down to Western Avenue, and the block on the easterly side of Burleigh Street beginning at Gilman and going down to Heath Street and the block south of Heath to Winter, according to Dubois.

The City Council is scheduled to take a final vote on the reconfiguration Feb. 21, and the change would take effect March 14.

The last census was taken in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays in rolling out the redistricting, Dubois said.

“I’m planning to do a mailing to everyone that’s impacted by the change,” she said.

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