The Lockport City Council approved a new ward map for the city that is easier to understand but will lead to some dramatic changes over the next few years.
All council members were present at Wednesday night’s meeting and voted unanimously for the new map, which had been decided upon in August and will go into effect in April 2020.
Once the map is in effect – with sitting council members and candidates for the upcoming April election having been shifted to the new wards – the city will see one ward with no representation for one year while others will have multiple aldermen each term in various scenarios until 2023.
There also will be one extra alderman – nine instead of eight – from 2021 to 2023. Also, some current aldermen in different wards at this time will have to run against each other in 2021, if they choose to run again.
Following state guidelines, the city will create at-large alderpersons – who will have the same powers and duties as all other members of the council – to accommodate the multiple same-term aldermen until 2023, City Attorney Sonni Williams said.
By 2023, the city will revert to its current system of eight council members, with two aldermen a ward with staggered terms.
All council members agreed that while the new map would lead to some upheaval, it would be much easier to understand with its cleaner partition of the city into quadrants with Farrell Road and Division Street as its respective north-south and east-west dividing lines.
The new map will have a sizable discrepancy between the population of the 1st Ward and the other three wards, but the 1st Ward is where the city sees the most potential for future growth, City Administrator Ben Benson said.
Williams explained the necessary changes the new map would create for the makeup of the City Council until 2023.
For the 1st Ward – with sitting Alderwoman Renee Saban being shifted into the 4th Ward and unopposed new candidate Larry Schreiber (who is running for Jim Petrakos’ seat) being shifted into the 2nd Ward – there will be no designated aldermen for one year until the 2021 elections.
In 2021, two aldermen will be elected for the 1st Ward, with the two winners drawing lots to determine who will have four-year and two-year terms.
The 2nd Ward will have two aldermen for the 2019 to 2023 term – Schreiber and the winner from the JR Gillogly and Daniel Kida face off this April. Christina Bergbower, whose term is up in 2021, will shift into the 3rd Ward.
After another alderman is elected for the 2nd Ward in 2021 – bringing the number to three aldermen until 2023 – the two sitting aldermen term will draw lots to determine which will be an at-large alderman for the remainder of the 2019 to 2023 term.
In the 3rd Ward, after April 2020, the winner of the Mark Lobes and Joseph Krier face off this April for the 2019 to 2023 term will shift into the 4th Ward.
Bergbower and the current 3rd Ward Alderman Darren Deskin will represent the ward until the April 2021 election. After that, there will only be one alderman for the ward until 2023.
In the 4th Ward, there will be four aldermen from 2020 to 2021: Saban whose term ends 2021; sitting Alderwoman Catherine Perretta whose term also ends 2021 and will remain in the 4th Ward; Alderwoman Joanne Bartelsen who is running unopposed in April for the 2019 to 23 term and will remain in the 4th Ward; and whoever wins the Lobes/Krier contest.
Bartelsen will draw lots with Lobes/Krier to determine which one will be an at-large alderman for the remainder of the 2019 to 2023. Saban and Perretta also will draw lots to determine who will be an at-large alderwoman for the remaining of the 2017 to 2021 term. After the 2021 election, the 4th Ward will have three alderpersons until 2023.