A resident who was most affected by a ward change prior to an election gave her thumbs up to an amendment that would require residents to be alerted in advance if they are being shifted into a different ward.
The amendment would require written notice of redrawn ward boundaries to be sent to residences that would move into a different ward.
Under the new proposal, which will go to vote at the April 16 Papillion City Council meeting, written notice will be sent to all residences five days prior to the introduction of any proposed ordinance that could change the city’s ward boundaries. It would also require that three readings take place on three different days of a proposed ordinance to redraw boundaries.
Autumn Sky Burns spoke to the Papillion City Council during the public hearing portion of the April 2 meeting, voicing her belief the amendment will be beneficial to residents who could be impacted by a potential ward change.
“I was one of those residents affected,” Burns said. “I think it is a low fiscal impact to the city to send postcards and I support any effort that will engage citizens in the civic process and show transparency.”
The change in ward boundaries came to light in October 2017 when the city of Papillion annexed several areas, causing some of the ward boundaries to change. In a December meeting that year, the council proposed waiving the second and third readings to meet a deadline of providing a ward map to the Sarpy County Election Commissioner’s office. Had the city missed the deadline, those newly annexed residents wouldn’t have been able to vote or run for office in the 2018 primary.
The move sparked controversy as Burns, who had been running for a City Council seat in Ward 1, was shifted to Ward 4 and eventually halted her campaign.
That following April, LB 865, introduced by Bellevue State Sen. Sue Crawford, was approved during the Nebraska legislative session which prohibited a city from suspending the requirement of three readings of an ordinance on different days for the redrawing of boundaries for city council election districts or wards.