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Reno, Nevada, Oct 20, 2021. (Photo by Ken Kurson for The Nevada Globe)

Reno Releases Redistricting Maps For New Sixth Ward

The addition of a sixth ward and elimination of the at-large council seat was challenged by the City of Reno

By Megan Barth, July 28, 2023 12:39 pm

The redistricting process in the City of Reno is moving into its final phase as four final map options have been released to residents. Yesterday, city staff and FLO Analytics, the independent data analytics firm that serves as the consultant on the project, presented the four maps to the public.

Final ward map options are below. Additional statistics including demographic information are provided with each option:

The transition from five to six wards is the result of state legislation signed into law during the 2017 Session of the Nevada Legislature. The Reno City Charter Committee, a citizen committee appointed by members of the Reno City Council and Nevada Legislature, recommended the change. With this change, the at-large council seat will be eliminated.

For background, in 2017, per the city’s request, the legislature passed Assembly Bill 36 which set into motion the plan to eliminate the at-large council member position, currently held by Devon Reese (he/him/his), and replace it with an elected council member representing a newly created Ward 6. The at-large council member position would be eliminated January 1, 2024.

Reno City Councilman, Vice Mayor Devon Reese (Photo: @votereese)

During the last legislative session, the addition of a sixth ward and elimination of the at-large council seat was challenged by the City of Reno with Mayor Hillary Schieve providing legislative testimony during a committee hearing.

As reported by The Globe, the City of Reno introduced Senate Bill 12 which eliminated the sixth ward and retained the at-large council seat. The bill also authorized the city council to approve, convert to, and acquire broad and undefined “green infrastructure projects” and changed current charter/statute language to gender-neutral terms. The city claimed the bill will not have a financial impact on tax payers.

During a city council meeting, Schieve stated:

I have heartburn for ward-only voting. I have heard, ‘Not my ward, not my problem.’ I don’t think Reno is big enough for us to hold on to our own domains. It’s why the downtown looks like it does. All of us should be rooting for Reno. Politicians will be drawing and outlining the map. Everyone who is elected should care about this city and now you will only have one person that cares about your city and that is the mayor. I am the only one that has held both positions. There should be other options to shape your community. I am passionate about this and it is politics at play. Write that down.”

Back in February, Councilman Reese announced he was running for reelection, catching the eye of KRNV reporter Ben Margiott:

Devon Reese announces a run for the 6th ward. (Screenshot: Twitter)

According to Reese’s tweet above, he is expecting to run in the sixth ward. To note, since our reporting on Reese’s campaign donations, Reese has blocked The Nevada Globe on Twitter. An ethics complaint filed against Reese is in process.

As Senate Bill 12 died in the legislature, the new ward boundaries must be provided to the Washoe County Registrar of Voters by September 1, 2023 in order to prepare for the 2024 election cycle.

The public is encouraged to share input by submitting public comment during the August 9 and August 23 city council meetings

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Megan Barth
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