After months of discussion, the Morrisville Town Council approved by a 5-2 vote a new map of electoral districts to apply to its 2017 council elections.
Three new maps were compiled by Morrisville’s planning staff to correct for population imbalances among electoral districts revealed by a special town census in 2015, the result of rapid but uneven growth during the past five years.
In Morrisville, council districts apply only to those who wish to run for office. Of the six council seats, four are districted and two are at-large, meaning anyone living anywhere in town can contest them.
The two votes against the map came from council members Liz Johnson and TJ Cawley, who will both occupy the same district under the boundaries adopted Tuesday. Neither cited that as the reason for their dissent.
Cawley said he would prefer a move to an all-at-large council, or failing that, to not adopt a new map until the town is required to do so by law after the 2020 U.S. Census. Johnson has said she would prefer another map that allows up to a 10 percent variance from the average district size, her argument being that greater flexibility in map-drawing would prevent more residents from being moved a second time when another new map is adopted next decade.
Mayor pro tem Steve Rao said he gradually has come to support the chosen map, which, of the three proposed, brings each district’s population closest in line with the average.
“The major reason that convinced me not to delay till 2020 is because we likely wouldn’t receive our census results until 2021, which means we wouldn’t get new districts until 2023,” Rao said. “So we’re looking at another six years. We’re already 20 percent off, so we could get to 30, 40 percent.”
Wilbur and Orville Wright Airport?
A candidate for the Wake Board of Commissioners recently launched a campaign ad promising to associate the word “wow” with the county.
John Odom, who’s running for the District 6 board seat against Greg Ford, refers to his tenure as a former Raleigh councilman to drive home his point. Odom recalled a group that approached him wanting to change the name of Raleigh-Durham International Airport to Wilbur and Orville Wright Airport.
“That didn’t get done, of course,” Odom says in the video. “But I’m looking forward to making sure that our community has the word ‘Wow’ in it.”
▪ Gov. Pat McCrory will host a town hall meeting at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre for the Arts on Tuesday, Nov. 1, starting at 5 p.m. The event is open to the public, but seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. To pre-register, go to nando.com/mccrorytownhall.
Compiled by Henry Gargan and Paul A. Specht
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