County Council Gets Ready to Redistrict

County Council Gets Ready to Redistrict

Much attention has been given to the judicial decision to toss the proposed state legislative redistricting plan of late, but it is important to note that local jurisdictions who have district based representation (as opposed to at large) must also reapportion their seats. In the region, this applies to Pittsburgh City Council, the Pittsburgh School District, and Allegheny County Council.

County Council has the redistricting issue on its agenda for tomorrow night. Council has 15 seats: two are at large seats, so no redistricting is involved there. It is the remaining 13 that have to be redrawn to accommodate for population change. The County’s administrative code states that the districts should be "compact and contiguous territories as nearly equal in population as practicable" and "unless absolutely necessary, no city, borough, township, or ward shall be divided in forming council districts…a municipality shall be divided into as few County Council districts as possible".

There are two competing plans on the agenda-one is the product of the work of a County resident (referred to herein as Plan #2). A separate bill would seek to change the code language to try and expand the influence of the City of Pittsburgh by allowing the City to "be divided into no more than six (6) County Council Districts" but would have City representation as of the 2010 census spread into four districts (this is true of Plans 1 and 2).

For illustration purposes, this blog will examine the proposed plans for District 1, currently a northwestern based district that encompasses municipalities along the Ohio River.

Current Makeup (16 municipalities)-Aleppo, Avalon, Bellevue, Ben Avon, Ben Avon Heights, Coraopolis, Crescent, Edgeworth, Emsworth, Kilbuck, Leet, Leetsdale, Moon, Ross, Sewickley, West View

Plan #1 (13 municipalities, 9 remain in district, 4 new)-Ben Avon, Ben Avon Heights, Coraopolis, Edgeworth, Emsworth, Findlay, Glen Osbourne, Haysville, Kilbuck, Moon, North Fayette, Ross, West View

Plan #2 (18 municipalities, 14 remain in district, 4 new)-Avalon, Ben Avon, Ben Avon Heights, Coraopolis, Crescent, Edgeworth, Emsworth, Glenfield, Glen Osbourne, Haysville, Kilbuck, Leet, Leetsdale, Moon, Ohio, Ross, Sewickley, and West View

District 13 is the only district currently that is solely comprised of City neighborhoods. Both Plan #1 and Plan #2 would add at least one non-City municipality to the District.