City Council approves preliminary redistribution plan and will hold workshop by next meeting

A final vote on the plan is expected as early as November 22, but a decision is needed by the end of the year. The board reserved the right to make changes before that date, and will also be holding a public workshop to discuss them further.

The preliminary plan, dubbed Option Ponderosa, is an offshoot of a previous plan, called Option Pine. The only change between the two plans is an expansion of Ward 3 by extending its perimeter to include the area between Division Avenue and Minnesota Avenue. The main effect of this is that it keeps Bret Weber, a member of Ward 3 city council, in his current neighborhood.

The redistribution comes at a time when the population of the average neighborhood has fallen from around 7,500 in 2010 to 8,500 between 2010 and 2020.

Debbie Nelson, County Auditor, was unsure of how much time the county would need to complete the work needed to wrap up the process.

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“It happens once every 10 years, so 10 years ago we were doing this, so how long did it take? Nelson said. “I’m not sure, exactly. We can work as fast and as hard as possible, so if you could give us a little more time to do that that would be great. If you can’t, you can’t. I just hope we can work together and don’t have to spend Christmas Eve here working and Christmas Day.

Mayor Brandon Bochenski noted that the census has been delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic, which in turn has delayed the redistribution.

“The dominoes kind of fall down starting with the state, so we end up in a tough spot, just like the county,” Bochenski said. “It’s really none of our faults, except someone’s.”

Todd Feland, administrator for the city of Grand Forks, said the city and county must work together to finalize the process by the end of the year.

“It’s a remapping process, from what we’ve been told,” Feland said. “Right now, the route we are going, we would have final approval on November 22, which would give her over a month to get all the information she needs.”

In other news on Monday:

  • The Grand Forks Committee of the Whole approved the budget for the 2022 Community Development Block Grant, which was increased by $ 419,458 over the 2021 budget due to the sale of Corporate Center 2, which amounted to $ 895,000 from total budget. The majority of the funds, $ 1,150,000, were allocated to competitive brick-and-mortar grants, with $ 230,000 allocated to competitive utility grants, $ 125,000 to HomeCents program operations, $ 125,000 allocated to administration and $ 20,000 for emergency purposes.

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