Victoria council to name citizens advisory committee to assist with redistricting plans

Sonny Long

April 5, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.
Updated April 4, 2011 at 11:05 p.m.

Victoria residents have the opportunity to play a major role in the anticipated re-mapping of city voting districts in time for the May 2012 election.

City staff recommended to the city council Tuesday that it appoint a citizens advisory committee to work with it on redistricting proposals.

John Kaminski, director of development services, said that although the city's consultant, Allison, Bass & Associates, has not completed its analysis of the city's districts, last week it informed the Victoria County Commissioners Court that it would need to redistrict.

"Our voting boundaries are exactly the same as the county within the city limits and 70 percent of the county population is within the city," Kaminski said. "Obviously, we're going to have to redistrict."

Kaminski gave council members an overview of redistricting, noting that no changes had been made in district boundaries since 1992.

The recommendation included appointment of a 15-member committee with the six council members appointing two from their districts and the mayor appointing three at-large members.

Once redistricting plans have been proposed, public hearings will be held to get input from other Victoria residents.

Kaminski said the citizens advisory group is recommended for several reasons.

"It demonstrates to the Department of Justice that the process was open and transparent," he said. "There are citizens involved, not just city council members drawing the line for themselves."

Council members are expected to make their nominations at the April 19 meeting and a committee appointed by May.

A final recommendation on redistricting needs to be approved by August so the consultant can submit the proposal for pre-clearance by September to the Department of Justice, Kaminski said.



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