Update: The group of Austinites in charge of drawing geographic city council districts is meeting this evening for the first time since approving a preliminary map.
The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is splitting the city into ten parts – each will be represented by a city council member.
But some people have expressed concerns that the districts the commission has drawn so far don’t accurately represent communities. For example, right now, District 7 runs along Mopac from North of Parmer Lane to Lady Bird Lake.
The commission will have a final map in place for use in the November 2014 city council elections.
Members will take public input at tonight’s meeting. It starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Austin Energy building on Barton Springs Road.
Original Story (Sept. 30, 2013): This weekend the commission charged with drawing 10 city council districts for Austin approved a preliminary map. The effort includes four council districts containing a majority of Hispanic and African-American residents.
A series of public hearings on the proposed districts are set to begin in mid-October in advance of a final map, which is expected to be used for the November 2014 elections.
“You’ve got true citizens out there working on this project, and it’s really been an interesting process to watch how they work through it," says Craig Tounget, executive director of the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. "It’s a lot of work for people that have never done anything quite like this.” With the first map is generated, the commission will hold four public forums to get feedback, and then put out a final city council map in December.
The new map is being drawn by an independent commission which was chosen after Austin residents voted in 2012 to change the way Austin City Council members are elected. Currently, the council is made of seven members (including the mayor) who represent the entire city. Under the new system, there will be 10 council members elected by district and a citywide mayor.
The ten districts drawn by the commission each have about 80,000 people.