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May 17,  2011

County Council redistricting
process gets under way

The two largest County Council districts stand to lose fairly large chunks of turf when the 13-member legislative body is reapportioned this summer. They will be divided among the other 10 districts. The Council president is chosen at-large.

 
Dist.

Council member

Commission member

AL

  1.

  2.

  3.

  4.

  5.

  6.

  7.

  8.

  9.

10.

11.

12.

Thomas Kovach*

Joseph Reda

Robert Weiner

Janet Kilpatrick

Penrose Hollins

Lisa Diller

William Powers

George Smiley

John Cartier

Timothy Sheldon

Jea Street

David Tackett

Bill Bell

David Tise

Kenneth Woods

Thomas Schrandt

Joseph Amon

Theodore Blunt

Michael Gritz

Robert Workman

James Holladay

Terrance Wright

Stuart Swinger

Cynthia Turner

Jennifer Thompson

Mark North

* Council president

As the redistricting commission appointed by Council to configure the new map assemble, its members were told that the southernmost districts, which together cover all the area south of U.S. Route 40, added a total of  13,718 residents since Council was expanded from seven to 13 members and the former Council districts were cut in half in 2003. As a result, the sixth district deviates by +50.5% from the average population and the 12th district by +24.6%. State law permits up to a 15% deviation, plus or minus, but the state General Assembly is limiting itself to a 5% variance and it's believed county government is inclined to follow suit. If so, Council members would each represent between 42,630 and 47,116 residents.

The commission has until July 26 to draw new district boundaries and recommend them to Council which then will enact legislation putting them into effect. They will first come into play at the November, 2012, election unless a sitting Council

member's residence ends up outside his or her realigned district, in which case there would have to be a special election to choose a replacement. Since each Council member chose a commission member to represent his or her interests, it is highly unlikely that will happen. At its first meeting, on May 16, the commission elected Ted Blunt, former president of Wilmington City Council, to be its chairman. He is the only commissioner with prior experience at redistricting.

The state Department of Elections will employ computer software, using U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2010 headcount, to immediately measure the effects as the commission, at subsequent meetings, shifts existing boundaries.

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