City continues progress towards approving tweaked redistricting map
MADISON – The redistricting process continues to progress and a second iteration of the redistricted map was presented to the public and the city council at a work session on Monday, August 14.
Redistricting takes place every ten years based on the recent census results. This year, the city of Madison is undergoing this process using the 2020 census data to equally distribute the city’s population between its seven districts. Redistricting is a five-step process and the city is currently in step three of developing a new plan. A public meeting with the citizens of Madison was held on July 17, 2023, to present Slaughter and Associates, the urban planning firm contracted by the city to configure the new districts and initial plan for the new district lines. The August 14 meeting was the second public meeting and included the city council to review a new plan formed based on feedback received on the first plan.
“Since we last had our public meeting, we received input from the city council regarding some changes which ultimately created the plan 2 that we have before us here,” Mike Slaughter of Slaughter and Associates explained.
The second version shifted some population into District 6, shifted part of District 1 into Limestone County, and moved some population from District 5 to District 7 at the suggestion of some council members and members of the public to undersize the fastest-growing districts to accommodate future growth.
The new map, however, showed Park Meadow and Thoroughbred Trail subdivisions divided between different districts, causing Councilwomen Maura Wroblewski and Connie Spears to advocate for these subdivisions to be united under one district, respectively
“The reason that I think we would want to have neighborhoods together is if there’s an issue in Park Meadow with speeding or the trash isn’t getting picked up, there’s less confusion with fewer people involved. So, if you have one council member for that district, they can handle it directly,” Wroblewski stated.
Richard Donovan of Slaughter and Associates altered the map live for the city council as members supplied their input, but in doing so, the population of almost every district was thrown out of balance beyond the margin allowed by law.
“I’m going to be honest. I say we put it back on plan 2,” Councilman John Seifert interjected after the back and forth produced a further skewed map. “Every change we’ve made, we’ve made it worse.”
At the end of the work session, a third plan was drawn up based on the additional council feedback supplied in the meeting that Slaughter and Associates will take into consideration to appropriately adjust the third iteration of the map into seven equal districts.
A second public hearing is scheduled for October 9 and adoption of a new map by a council vote is planned for October 21. The new districts will take effect for the 2025 municipal election.