The annexation of Greatwood and New Territory increased the city’s population, requiring the city’s four single-member City Council districts to be adjusted. Single-member Council districts must be of substantially equal population with a maximum deviation no greater than 10 percent between the most populated and least populated council member district.
Sugar Land’s citizen redistricting committee includes Chairman Randy Garbs, Councilmember Himesh Gandhi, Tina Gibson, Dr. Mary Harrell, Russell Jones, Louis Manuel, Apurva Parikh, Sapana Patel and Councilmember Bridget Yeung.
Committee meetings will be held from June 25 to Aug. 10. Outside legal counsel will prepare several redistricting plans based on state and federal law as well as guidelines adopted by City Council.
City Council also approved resolution 18-19 that establishes criteria for use in the 2018 redistricting process, creates a framework to guide redistricting plans and assists city efforts to comply with all applicable federal and state laws.
The city will adhere to the following criteria:
• Where possible, easily identifiable geographic boundaries should be followed.
• Communities of interest should be maintained in a single district, where possible and attempts should be made to avoid splitting districts.
• To the extent possible, districts should be composed of whole voting precincts. Where this is not possible or practicable, districts should be drawn in a way that permits the creation of practical voting precincts and that ensures that adequate facilities for polling places exists in each voting precinct.
• Although it is recognized that existing districts will have to be altered to reflect new population distribution, any districting plan should, to the extent possible, be based on existing district.
• Districts must be configured so that they are relatively equal in total population according to the 2010 federal census. In no event should the total deviation between the largest and the smallest district exceed 10 percent. The city will attempt to achieve a deviation that is less than 10 percent under the data released by the Census Bureau.
• The districts will be composed of contiguous territory and should be compact.
• Compactness may contain a function, as well as geographic dimension.
• Consideration may be given to the preservation of incumbent-constituency relations by recognition of the residence of incumbents and their history in representing certain areas.
• The plan will avoid retrogression in the position of racial minorities and language minorities as defined in the Voting Rights Act with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.
• The plan should not fragment a geographically compact minority or community or pack minority voters in the presence of polarized voting so as to create liability under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
Public hearings will be held during the redistricting process to receive public comments on the proposed redistricting plans; meeting dates and times will be published at www.sugarlandtx.gov/Redistricting.
The public will be invited to comment on redistricting plans as they are developed and/or submit other redistricting plans for council consideration. Redistricting plans submitted must meet the established criteria and guidelines.
The committee is scheduled to make its recommendations to City Council on Aug. 21. City Council is scheduled to hold a workshop on Aug. 28 to discuss the committee’s recommendations and receive comments from the public.
For copies of Resolution No. 18-19 or for more information, contact the City Secretary at 281-275-2730, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sugarlandtx.gov.