A change in the structure of the City Council was approved by a 646-vote margin Tuesday, clearing the way for election of four district and two at-large council members next year.

Under the existing mayor-council form of government, established in 1981, the four council members and the mayor are elected at large. The proposal passed 3,678 to 3,032, according to the unofficial election tally.Proponents said the new system will be a more representative form of government because voters in four distinct districts will have their own council members with balance provided by the two at-large seats. They also said the change will encourage more people to run for office.

Opponents had argued that council members selected by only a fourth of the town's voters would have too much authority over issues affecting areas outside their districts.

The current council members were divided on the issue, with two endorsing the change, one opposing it, and one remaining neutral.