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City ward reduction will take effect as planned, Jones assures

ST. LOUIS – The voter-approved plan to cut the number of city wards to 14 from 28 will soon take effect, as Mayor Tishaura Jones announced her intention of signing the Board of Aldermen’s bill for the reduction.

City residents voted in 2012 to trim the number of wards after the release of the 2020 Census numbers. The redistricting process thus began after those numbers came out in late September 2021.

The map drawn by aldermen for the new wards passed 28-0 despite worries that the change might reduce Black representation on the board.

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed said in a statement that the board had worked to ensure the process was transparent and that all aldermen had “had an equal seat at the table.

“Through robust public and aldermanic engagement, we were able to create a map that’s more representative of the community it was created to serve,” Reed said. “Sharing working drafts along the way allowed for continuing community input for nearly two months.”

In 2023, aldermen from even-numbered wards will be elected to full four-year terms; aldermen from odd-numbered wards will serve two-year terms. Odd-numbered wards will hold elections again in 2025, then electing aldermen for four years.

Jones praised the process of redrawing the wards. She said in a statement: “Our communities deserve fair, equitable, and compact wards, and their continued engagement through this process has delivered those results. Thank you to the community who came together to demand an inclusive process, members of the Board of Aldermen for listening and responding to feedback, and to the City Counselor and Planning Department for providing their expertise throughout this process.”

Other bills signed

In addition to Jones’ support for the redistricting blueprint, she has signed Board Bill 123, renewing the Downtown Community Improvement District for another two decades “to help keep Downtown safe, clean, and accessible for everyone, and … maintain the services that residents and visitors alike rely on.”

Other bills signed include several grants, including:

  • BB98 (Ingrassia): a $10,000 award to the Department of Health from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (“NACCHO”) for COVID-19 preparedness
  • BB121 (Clark-Hubbard): a $273,568.18 award to the City of St. Louis Fire Department from the United States Department of Homeland Security, with a $27,356.82 match by the City, for health and wellness programs for firefighters
  • BB131 (Howard): the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) of $450,415 awarded to the Department of Public Safety from the U.S. Department of Justice, for the Youth Empowerment Services (YES) program, the Family Court, Juvenile Division Night Watch program, and legal support in the Problem Properties program
  • BB135 (Ingrassia): the Closing the Gap with Social Determinants of Health (“SDOH”) award of $89,522 to the Department of Health (the “DOH”) Food and Nutrition grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Staff is home to The NorthSider and The SouthSider weekly community newspapers. The SouthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Tuesday. The NorthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Thursday. They are distributed at over 600 locations across St. Louis.

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