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Bal Harbour council considering redrawing districts

Bal Harbour will discuss potential new district maps at Tuesday’s council meeting.

BY RODOLFO ROMAN
SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
Bal Harbour is considering redrawing its map of five village council districts.
Ronald Schultz, a Florida Atlantic University Geosciences Department professor emeritus hired as a consultant to Bal Harbour, will address the council with a report and present two alternatives on redistricting plans at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Village Hall, 655 96th St.
Changing district boundaries would help balance population across the districts, Schultz wrote in an e-mail.
“The geographic size of some districts will get bigger and some will become smaller,” Schultz wrote. “The territorial size will depend on how many residents are in that area.”
Currently, the population of District 1 is 1,047 compared to the least populous District 5, which has 487 residents, according to Schultz. The village’s total population is 3,414.
District 1 is represented by Mayor Jean Rosenfield, while Assistant Mayor Joni D. Blachar sits in the District 5 seat.
The village council authorized a contract with Schultz for consulting services in October. Community outreach director Jay Smith said the contract calls for an hourly rate, with the total not to exceed $8,000. The consultant’s fees will be paid from general tax funds.
No stranger to configuring new districts, Schultz recently helped redistrict North Lauderdale and Coconut Creek.
Schultz met with village residents and council members at a workshop last month, where he brought forward the results of his study on population.
Redistricting has been discussed at council meetings for years. Rosenfield said considering redistricting makes sense — noting the recent completion of large residential projects and the upcoming elections in April 2011. Now “is a good time to look at redistricting given that we have some time before our next election, and the recent completion of several large building projects,” she said.

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