When Hudson County continues the process of redistricting Hoboken’s wards this week due to the recent census, the downtown 1st Ward will likely shrink in size, while the midtown 6th Ward will enlarge.
The change would mean some Hoboken residents might find themselves represented by a different council person.
Every 10 years, after the federal census, the Hudson County Board of Elections and the local city clerk redistrict the wards of each town if there are significant population changes. The larger legislative districts and freeholder districts also must be redrawn.
The 1st Ward may shrink, and the 6th Ward may grow, to even out the population.
Redistricting allows for the realignment of the city’s wards so they each have roughly the same number of residents.
The most populated area of the city is the southeastern 1st Ward represented by Councilwoman Theresa Castellano.
Four of the six wards have between 8,100 and 8,900 residents. However, the 1st Ward currently has 9,224 residents, according to the results from the 2010 Census. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the midtown 6th Ward has 6,445 residents.
Sources say the county is likely to shrink the size of the 1st Ward and increase the boundaries for the 6th Ward, a midtown area encompassing Church Square Park and the waterfront.
The issue could become complicated, because some council members live right on the borders of their wards. However, council members are not likely to be pushed out of their wards through redistricting, according to sources familiar with the process.
For example, Councilwoman Jen Giattino anticipates that her 6th Ward, which will likely be the most affected by the changes, will expand on many different fronts of town.
But the ward is not likely to increase on the western front because the 1st Ward representative, Castellano, lives just a few doors away from the 6th Ward boundary.
Workshop and public meetings
The Board of Ward Commissioners has announced a workshop for Monday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m. at Hudson County Plaza, 257 Cornelison Ave. in Jersey City, to address Hoboken’s ward boundaries.
“We’re advertising that to open it up and receive as much input as possible,” said Michael Harper, clerk of the Hudson County Board of Elections.
Harper said that redistricting takes place in each town that has a ward/council form of government, such as Hoboken. In contrast, a township such as North Bergen, which has a commissioner form of government, does not need to go through the process of redistricting wards.
In neighboring Jersey City, the process has become complicated because local officials are challenging the results of the 2010 Census, claiming that their city was undercounted.
Hoboken’s officials were apparently pleased with the results of the 2010 Census. In 2000, the census concluded that the city had approximately 38,000 residents. The new population figure of 50,005 indicates that there has been an approximate 30 percent growth in population.
“The first meeting must take place within 90 days after the governor signs off on the [census] numbers,” Harper said, noting that the first meeting to address redistricting took place on Sept. 6.
After the workshop on Monday, the Board of Commissioners will meet in Hoboken in City Council Chambers on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. to finalize the new wards of Hoboken.
Ray Smith may be reached at RSmith@hudsonreporter.com