Board votes for a 10th precinct \ Population growth accommodated

Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) - Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Author: Elaine Thompson

SHREWSBURY - Selectmen last night voted to increase the number of precincts by one to 10, in light of a 12.5 percent population increase during the past decade. 

The town's population grew from 31,640 in 2000 to 35,608 by 2010, according to federal census data. Most of the growth was in the southeast part of town. Nearly half of the town's total growth was in Precinct 9, which gained 1,760 residents, representing a 52 percent increase in population. 

According to state law, no precinct can have more than 4,000 residents. The new census figures put Precincts 4 (4,175), 5 (4,178), 8 (4,049) and 9 (5,158) over that threshold. The new 10th precinct will encompass a significant portion of Precinct 9 as well as parts of Precincts 4, 5 and 8. 

Selectmen voted 4-1 in favor of adding a precinct, rather than reconfiguring the current nine. Selectman Henry J. Fitzgerald said adding a precinct will mean the town will not have to redraw precinct lines. Others said adding a precinct may allow the town to correct some polling place issues. 

Chairman James Kane said he preferred nine because they have a greater commonality of interests. 

Municipalities have until June 15 to submit their redistricting for approval to the state Election District Review Commission.

The three-member commission, appointed by the governor and the offices of the attorney general and secretary of state, must review each plan to see if it complies with the law. 

The new redistricting will take effect at the end of the year. All town meeting members, except in Precinct 3, which was not changed, will have to run for election in May.



TOP