Cleveland Pop. Declines, City Council to Shrink in 2013

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CLEVELAND -- Cleveland City Council is going to be shrinking next year.

Due to the city’s decline in population, the 19 member council will lose two seats in 2013. According to the latest census, there are about 396,000 people living in the city now.

Council last drew new districts in 2009.

Councilman Mike Polensek says redistricting is a difficult process to go through for elected officials as well as for citizens.

“Sometimes neighborhoods get cut in half, neighborhood groups, well their geographical area may get cut up between different councilmen,” Polensek said. “It becomes difficult as it becomes to representation.”

Council members have been working with a consultant and have already begun the process of determining new ward boundaries.

“So the idea is to make sure we keep neighborhoods in tact as best as possible,” said Councilman Tony Brancatelli. “Make sure we keep residents within the ward that they know and have been represented for years as best as possible.”

Most of the population decline appears to be on the city’s northeast quadrant, which means some councilmembers like Jeff Johnson may to run against current colleagues for re-election.

“I don’t lose sleep over it,” Johnson said. “I learn to worry about things when they actually show me the map. When I say concerned, I am concerned if I am running in the area I represent now or whether they are going to be moving my area around.”

Council is expected to vote on the issue sometime in March.