At its August 4, 2020 meeting, the Bellevue City Council approved a resolution that ordered an election to authorize the elimination of the Bellevue At-Large City Council position and create an add a 6th City Council Ward in its place. Bellevue residents will have the opportunity to vote on this issue in the upcoming General Election which occurs on November 3, 2020.
The City of Bellevue is classified as a city of the first class by Nebraska statute. This classification is based on population within the City. The City of Bellevue utilizes a form of municipal government that consists of a mayor and a six-member city council, one of whom is elected in an at-large position, representing all five (5) district wards. The district council members represent the constituents living within the boundaries of their ward, while the at-large member represents the constituents as a whole.
In 2019, the City completed several annexations, which caused the population to increase and also caused the redistricting of ward boundaries as required by Nebraska statute. Nebraska statute requires each ward to contain, as nearly as practicable, an equal portion of the population. As of the redistricting in 2019, the equal portion of population for each ward is 12,000 constituents per ward. In other words, one councilmember per 12,000 citizens.
In order to better serve the citizens of Bellevue, it would be beneficial to create a sixth ward and eliminate the at-large position. By eliminating the at-large position and establishing a sixth ward district, it will enable the City of Bellevue to equally serve each of its citizens by lowering the councilmember/citizen ratio to one councilmember per 10,000 citizens. In order to effectuate, Nebraska statute requires the City to first eliminate the at-large position. To do so requires a vote by our citizens at the upcoming election “FOR” the At-large City Council position to be eliminated.
After the election, dependent upon said results, the City will then begin the process of working with MAPA to create a sixth ward that follows Nebraska statute that will contain, as nearly as practicable, an equal portion of the population between all six wards. Both candidates for the At-Large City Council position in this year’s election have been briefed and support the reasoning for the proposed change. If approved, the effective date of the 6th ward will be two years from the date of approval and in the next election cycle.