NEWBURGH, N.Y.-- "We now have a chance to tell the individual that lives in the City of Newburgh that you have a voice on the city council because every section of the city will now have a representative that sits on that council," said Nicholas Valentine, City of Newburgh former mayor.
Two years after voters approved changes to the City of Newburgh's charter, those changes are now going into effect.
"Newburgh is unique this year because they have changed their city into a ward structure, so there’s four wards in the city and there will be candidates elected in each one of those wards," said Susan Bahren, Orange County Democratic Election Commissioner.
The new ward system expands the city council from five to now seven members. Now, four council members will be elected from each ward, while two city council members will be elected at large along with the mayor in two years.
These changes to the city's charter are historic breaking the city into four wards by population and giving residents equal representation for the first time in the city's history.
"For the first time ever, people will actually be able to have somebody from their ward that they can go talk to, that can represent that ward's issues," said Judy Kennedy, City of Newburgh Mayor.
City officials say these changes are going to streamline city council meetings and get more problems in the city solved.
"I'm trying to get the message out to is for people to actually know what ward they're in, know who's running and really participate by electing people that can really represent them well," said Kennedy
Democrats will have primaries in three of the four wards and none of the candidates have held elected office in the city before.