The City of Shawnee has been trying to get its wards map updated and rebalanced for the past few months.

The City of Shawnee has been trying to get its wards map updated and rebalanced for the past few months.

According to 2010 U.S. Census estimates, Shawnee's population has shifted over the last five or six years, making the wards out of balance.

City Manager Justin Erickson said the city is required to review population changes from time to time and make changes as needed.

A hearing for the proposed changes was unanimously approved by the City Commissioners Monday; the board's decision allowed Erickson to give the required legal notice.

Proposed changes were originally set to be addressed at the Jan. 17 commission meeting, but after a deannexation request in January by St. Gregory's University was OK'd it changed the population of Ward 6 by a few hundred people.

Since the university's detachment request was approved — leaving just more than 300 residents, including students, living on the grounds no longer counting as part of Ward 6 — the just-reconfigured boundaries item was deferred so ward numbers could be rebalanced again.

Erickson said figures for current and proposed population distribution by ward were gathered by using 2010 U.S. Census figures.

Census data is the only data available at the block-level, which allows for the detailed analysis necessary to complete the ward boundary adjustment, he said.

“The next update won't occur until the 2020 Census is done, with block-level data likely not available until 2021 or 2022. Based on Census estimates, Shawnee's 2015 population is estimated to be at 31,286 residents.

If the wards were exactly equal, each would represent approximately 16.66 percent of the City’s population, or 4,925 people — the maximum difference in population between the wards would be 1,405 people or 3.95 percent.

The largest ward, Ward 6, currently is estimated to have a population of 5,690 or 19.25 percent, whereas the smallest ward, Ward 3, is estimated to have a population of 4,285 or 15.61 percent.

After the changes:

Ward 1 would decrease from 5,333 to 4,982

Ward 2 would increase from 4,520 to 4,785

Ward 3 would increase from 4,285 to 4,931

Ward 4 would increase from 4,612 to 4,965

Ward 5 would decrease from 5,111 to 4,842

Ward 6 would decrease from 5,690 to 5,046

In the proposed boundary changes, the maximum variance is substantially reduced to 266 people or 0.89 percent.

“It is staff’s opinion that a proposed deviation below 1.0 percent more than meets the substantially equal requirement set forth in State law,” Erickson said.

The adopting ordinance will be on the Commission’s March 6 meeting for consideration.

You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.