Keeping subdivisions together was one of the primary issues discussed at Tuesday’s public workshop on proposed single-member districts in Buda.
The city held a public workshop to look at boundaries of three new single-member districts that will be used to elect city council members in November’s election.
An illustrative plan of the potential boundaries of the three districts was presented to city council on March 20, which passed unanimously. However, there were some concerns about the way some subdivisions and neighborhoods were divided between districts.
The current population of the city was estimated from census blocks from the 2010 U.S. Census, and because some buildings or neighborhoods did not exist at that time, some areas within the districts are incongruous.
“Generally our illustrative plan did not require the expensive and additional effort necessary to split census blocks and rebuild all of the calculations necessary to show that we’re doing it legally and appropriately, but if that’s what the city council wants then we’re ready to do it,” George Hyde, city attorney, said.
In order for the districts to be legal, the city has to take several considerations into account. Among these are that each district should have similar populations, should have access to public facilities and polling places, should be compact and of contiguous territory, and should avoid discrimination against minorities as per the Voting Rights Act, to name a few.
Jennifer Allen, a resident of Buda, attended the workshop because she was concerned that her four-street neighborhood was being split into two districts.
“Our neighborhood is so close knit that we didn’t want to be represented by two different voting platforms,” Allen said.
Sandra Bryant, another citizen of Buda, attended the meeting to stay informed with city issues.
“When you’re changing the district boundaries like this, it’s important for the community to be aware of the issues,” Bryant said. Bryant lives in Summer Point subdivision in Buda.
The city will take the feedback from the workshop and reshape the district boundaries for council members to look over and approve at their next council meeting on June 5.
“We will look at the variable statistical requirements and see the impact they would have and see if we can create some options for the ultimate adoption for the district maps,” Hyde said. “If one is approved by a majority of council, those will be the new districts for the city of Buda.”
Council also has the option to table the item and continue to work with the boundaries.
Aug. 8 is the deadline for council to adopt the final plan before the elections on Nov. 6