ALDERMEN WILL HOLD a second public hearing this month on a proposed charter amendment involving changing ward boundaries, after a state review of the proposed ballot question resulted in some suggested revisions.

As previously reported, city residents will vote on a ballot question this November on a charter amendment request from City Clerk Matt Normand.

For 40 years voters in Ward 6 cast ballots at St. Pius X Parish, but church officials severed that relationship with the city in January 2017. Polls were set up at the Henry J. McLaughlin Middle School, due to a lack of other suitable locations.

The issue, pointed out by the Attorney General’s office at the time, is that the school’s campus is located approximately 750 feet from the western boundary of Ward 6, situated along the outer edge of Ward 8.

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“We have held four successful elections at the new location since that move,” wrote Normand in a memo to city aldermen. “The Attorney General’s office allowed for the new location with the understanding that we would amend the ward lines to properly position 290 South Mammoth Road — McLaughlin Middle School and Green Acres School — within ward 6 by the end of 2019.”

Because ward descriptions are embedded in Section 5.33 of the city charter, any proposed amendment involves a lengthy process, including a state review and citywide election.

Ballot question

The proposed ballot question asks voters to replace Section 5.33 of the city charter with the following language:

“Ward lines shall divide the city into twelve wards of equal population as predictable. To achieve that goal, upon issuance of the federal census and every ten years thereafter, or as may be necessary to conduct fair elections under New Hampshire’s Constitution, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen shall initiate review of the city’s ward lines to determine if redistricting of ward lines is necessary.

“If the Board of Mayor and Aldermen determines that ward redistricting is necessary, the board shall propose changes to ward lines through ordinance enactment and/or revision to create wards of equal population as is practicable. Redistricting occurring within the ten-year period shall only be for the purpose of relocating a polling location within a ward’s boundaries, and shall not move any voters. A public hearing on the proposed ward boundaries shall be held before its adoption.”

Normand has told aldermen if his proposal is approved by voters this fall, his office has an interim plan ready that has been reviewed by the Attorney General and Secretary of State offices that would create boundaries that capture the McLaughlin school complex within Ward 6.

Aldermen are expected to hold a hearing on the recommended changes to the ballot question this week.

Ready. Set. Go.

The filing period for all municipal candidates seeking local office kicks off Monday, July 8, at 8 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 19. For additional information visit the election section of the City Clerk page at www.manchesternh.gov or call 624-6455.

Campaign staff for incumbent Mayor Joyce Craig and challenger Victoria Sullivan have announced when each candidate will pull papers for their respective mayoral runs.

Craig is expected to officially file for reelection on Monday, July 15, surrounded by supporters and family.

“In the last year and a half, we’ve made progress strengthening Manchester’s schools, growing our economy, and combating the opioid epidemic,” said Craig in a statement. “There’s great momentum across the city as businesses, nonprofits, and residents are all working together to address our challenges. I’m running for a second term because our work isn’t done, and together, we can keep building a stronger Manchester.”

In the lead up to filing for reelection, Craig’s campaign will host a Day of Action on Saturday, July 13. The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Craig’s campaign headquarters at 264 Mammoth Road, with volunteers knocking on doors across the city and talking with residents about the issues.

“In Mayor Craig’s first year and a half in office, she has fostered a culture of collaboration and accessibility in City Hall,” said McKenzie St. Germain, Craig’s campaign manager. “Talking with residents about their experiences and ideas has been key in delivering real results for the Queen City. The cornerstone of our campaign will always be having conversations with voters about the issues they care about and how we can continue building a stronger Manchester.”

Sullivan, a Republican and former state representative, will file the necessary paperwork to make her candidacy for mayor official on Monday at 2 p.m. at City Hall.

Ward 7 announcement

Ward 7 resident Brenda Noiseux has announced she is running for alderman.

“As young professionals, my family and I chose to make Manchester our home,” said Noiseux. “Fourteen years later, I stand by that choice. Manchester is brimming with untapped potential while facing complex 21st-century challenges. It’s critical to have forward-thinking leaders who can engage community stakeholders, and I have experience with both.”

Noiseux says her experience in the technology industry and as a business owner shapes her project management and use of strategic planning, data and effective communication to help ensure success.

She previously ran for alderman in 2017 and became a member of the city’s Conservation Commission in 2018.

Noiseux said she wants to see more Queen City residents engaged in local government, including young people, women and people of color.

“Manchester is perfectly sized and situated for getting involved and making a difference. I’m excited to do my part encouraging engagement in Manchester’s nonpartisan city elections by running for Ward 7 alderman,” said Noiseux.

Paul Feely is the City Hall reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. Reach him at pfeely@unionleader.com.