WF City Council moves forward with redistricting
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The Wichita Falls City Council unanimously voted to move forward with redistricting the current five city council districts. The hope is that these new boundaries will create a better balance of population among all five districts.
U.S. Federal law requires that no two districts within a city have a population disparity larger than 10 percent. For Wichita Falls however, with new census data coming to light the margin between district 4 and district 2 is over 13 percent. So for the city comply with the Voting Rights Act, changes are necessary.
“We kind of knew that we had to do some redistricting, we just didn’t know to what extent and what it would look like for the future of Wichita Falls,” said Mayor Stephen Santellana.
The Wichita Falls City Council, along with the help of an Austin based consulting firm, got the ball rolling on those necessary changes after voting 6-0 to move forward with redistricting the entire city to achieve more balance.
“I could have guessed that our eastside district, one of our minority districts, was losing population over there and was going to have to gain from somewhere else,” said Santellana. “What’s problematic now is they’re abutted by the Country Club and they’re kind of already coming into the Country Club area. So, they’re going to try to get more balance for us.”
In addition to physical boundaries, the hope is that the new layout can keep ethnic communities together and ensure consistent voting ideals for large sums of people because, as always, it’s all about balance.
“Minorities might live in one part of the city and whites live in another part of the city and Hispanics live in another part of the city,” said Santellana. “Trying to get that balance out without really diving in. The districts before were actually well balanced and it made a lot of sense. Now, just like other cities are doing, they’re having to kind of dive in and carve out portions to make these districts more balanced.”
Santellana said although the city won’t have any sort of election in 2022, they want to get the redistricting done as soon as possible in case there is a sudden vacancy on the city council by the time November rolls around.
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