Urban County Council members took one last look at a proposed map to redraw boundaries for Fayette County's 12 council districts, made one tweak, then gave their preliminary approval Tuesday.
The newly drawn boundaries will be put on the Oct. 13 council docket for first reading and Oct. 27 for second reading. If passed, the changes would go into effect Oct. 28.
Every 10 years, boundaries must be redrawn, based on the most recent U.S. Census figures, to equalize the population among the districts.
Fayette County has grown 13 percent since 2000, to a population of 296,000. As a result, 33,104 people have to be moved from one district to another, so each of the 12 districts have a median population of 24,650, give or take 10 percent.
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A redistricting committee of 15 residents met during the summer.
The committee's report was unveiled last Thursday. Vice Mayor Linda Gorton then scheduled Tuesday's special meeting to give council members a chance to ask questions or propose changes in the boundaries.
The committee's plan had a deviation of 10.7 percent. City attorney Keith Horn said that would probably withstand a legal challenge, but a 10 percent deviation would be preferable.
The one change council members made Tuesday was to leave the Woodfield precinct in District 12, rather than move it into District 8 as the committee had recommended.
Council member Ed Lane, who represents District 12, said that keeps Woodfield in the Hartland subdivision, which he represents. One of the committee's guidelines was to keep from splitting neighborhood associations as much as possible.
That tweak also brought the population deviation among the districts down to 9.2 percent, which puts the government in a stronger position if the plan faced a legal challenge, Gorton said after the meeting.
The proposed boundaries not only equalize current population, but they have built-in projected growth over the next 10 years. Districts 2 and 12 are the two districts where the most growth in the county is expected.
Gorton said she was pleased that redistricting was on schedule to be completed by the end of October. That will give Fayette County Clerk Don Blevins time to draw up new maps by Nov. 9 — the first date when council candidates can start collecting signatures to have their names put on the ballot.