County commissioners to eye redistricting

Howard County commissioners will consider approval of a redistricting plan for the county's four precincts Monday, as the government agency looks to realign its political boundaries following the 2010 Census.According to County Judge Mark Barr, commissioners have three redistricting plans they are considering.“We recently met with Bob Bass from Allison, Bass and Associates to discuss the necessary changes,” Barr said. “We have to redraw the lines to keep the precincts in line with the results of the census. I expect we'll be able to make a decision on the matter Monday.”According to Bass, the recent census has shown a number of changes in population throughout the county, all of which have to be addressed to meet federal requirements.“Redistricting takes place after every census,” Bass told the court. “We have to look at the existing political boundaries and divide the population — not including inmates being housed in prison — which is 29,810, by the four precincts, giving us a target population for each precinct of 7,453.”According to Bass, Precinct 1, represented by Emma Brown, is underpopulated by 529; Precinct 2, represented by Donnie Baker, is overpopulated by 488; Precinct 3, which is represented by Jimmie Long, is underpopulated by 876; and Precinct 4, which is represented by John Cline, is overpopulated by 915.During a recent meeting with commissioners, Bass presented the court with two plans for redistricting, with proposition one bringing the total deviation down to 3.1 percent and proposition 2 lowering it to 3.2 percent.Bass said the court must decide on a plan by Aug. 1 so it can be submitted to the Department of Justice for pre-clearance.