A public hearing was held on Sept. 17 to gather community feedback on the redistricting of Rusk County.
County Conservationist Nick Stadnyk said that following a census, the first step is to look at the population numbers to determined where and how any adjustments to boundaries need to happen to meet population equitability.
Counties are legally required to redistrict boundaries and districts following every census. The State’s goal is to have less than 10 percent deviation from the largest district and the smallest district.
Stadnyk said the considerations made included examining the compactness of the districts, existing boundaries, ensuring there were no islands and working to keep communities together.
Twelve plans were drawn with four making the final consideration.
After review and consideration, the committee approved plan #12 that had 4.4 percent deviation across the county. The goal was to have as close to 747 residents in each district based on the 2020 census number of 14,188 residents in the county.
The plan provides “the best balance of everything,” said Stadnyk.
Overall, the plan resulted in less than two percent change in any one district to make each district equitably consistent through the county, according to Stadnyk.
County supervisor Randy Tatur said that at the onset of the project, the census resulted a 25 percent deviation from the largest to the smallest district.
County Board Chairman Dave Willingham said the committee worked to make the least amount of changes to the voting districts as possible.
According to Stadnyk, the biggest challenge with the project was the short deadline. In a non-pandemic year the census information is released in April. This year, due to COVID-19 pandemic challenges, the census information was not released until August; however, the 180 days deadline to finalize the redistricting by Nov. 23 did not change.
No members of the community attended the public hearing.
Plan #12 moved to the Sept. 21 county board meeting where it was approved.