Reno to add a Ward 6

The city of Reno is moving forward with plans to eliminate the at-large council seat and create a sixth ward.
Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 12:08 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - MAY 10 UPDATE: During a regularly scheduled Reno City Council Meeting, the council approved a motion to adopt the current principles guiding city staff in the way they handle the redistricting process.

In a motion 4-2, the Reno City Council voted to use an independent contractor to draw up the new ward boundary lines. Assistant City Manager, JW Hodge, says as soon as Thursday May 11th, city staff will work to begin community outreach in efforts to have residents be part of the redistricting process. “Anyone can look at a map and see a street, say ‘lets draw a line right there,’ but residents know their communities, and would know ‘hey, maybe we can’t split that community;’ thats why community input is so important.”

To keep up with the happenings of the redistricting and addition of Ward 6, you can click here.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: The City of Reno will soon be adding a sixth ward. It’s because Senate Bill 12 won’t make it out of committee.

The bill would have impacted Reno in three ways:

  1. It would have eliminated gendered language.
  2. It would have allowed the city to build green infrastructure.
  3. It would have retained the At Large city council position.

Because the bill is now dead, the at-large position in the Reno City Council will now be replaced by a representative from the upcoming Ward 6. Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve argues the at-large position gives Renoites more representation.

“Sometimes people have different politics or different ideas, different values, who knows what that looks like,” said Mayor Schieve. “But if you don’t see eye to eye with your councilmember, who else can represent you?”

Mayor Schieve said nearly the same thing at Wednesday’s city council meeting, adding the at-large member can also help against a “not my ward, not my problem” mentality.

“Reno is not large enough. I understand in bigger cities where you have bigger populations and different demographics. We are not seeing that in Reno and so, quite honestly, your city council should be doing it all for all the people, not just in some specific area.”

One city council member says she didn’t feel supported by the at-large member.

“I don’t feel like I have additional support with an at large member,” said Ward 4 Councilwoman Meghan Ebert. “So, I just want to make that statement. I speak up for my ward and to date, I have largely been overruled by this body and I have not received support from the at large member. So I just want to call that out.”

In response, Mayor Schieve said she was disappointed to hear that.

“I’ve seen the at large position help her on initiatives like Hoge Road, things like that. I’ve seen it first hand. I think what’s happened is, honestly, people have looked at maybe who’s in the seat.”

Another challenge caused by this is where ward 4 would go.

“That’s another challenge, right?” said Mayor Schieve. “I want to make sure the politicians aren’t the ones doing the redistricting. We really need to have an independent consulting firm look at that, because oftentimes, it is the body that decides that and I think that’s a complete conflict of interest.”

You can learn more about Senate Bill 12 here and watch the city council meeting where this was discussed here.