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Plan to redraw districts may wait for census results

Village officials say they want to wait for U.S. Census figures before redrawing council districts — but that means the changes won’t happen before next year’s elections.

BY RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald
Bal Harbour’s plan to redraw village council districts might not come anytime soon, after officials decided to put a hold on redistricting until the results of the 2010 U.S. Census are released.

The village council unanimously voted to table plans to reconfigure the boundaries of districts at a March meeting.

But, if the village decides to wait for the census results, it won’t be able to change the boundaries in time for the April 2011 elections.

Census population results will be available in December, said U.S. Census media specialist Helga Silva.

But any changes to the village’s district map would have to be done at least six months before the April elections, according to Village Clerk Ellisa Horvath.

Council members said they wanted to wait until the new population numbers are available before reconfiguring districts, something that has been talked about for years.

“I would base it on the new census that’s coming up,” said Councilman Martin Packer. “Why base it on something that’s 10 years old?”

The village hired as a consultant Ronald Schultz, professor emeritus at Florida Atlantic University’s Geosciences Department, who presented several alternatives at the meeting. Schultz recently helped redistrict North Lauderdale and Coconut Creek.

Schultz says changing district boundaries would help balance population across the districts.

Currently, the population of District 1, represented by Mayor Jean Rosenfield is 1,047. The least populous District 5, represented by Assistant Mayor Joni D. Blachar, has 487 residents, according to Schultz. The village’s total population is 3,414.

Rosenfield said that although the village will wait for the results of the census to redraw the boundaries, discussions about the subject are ongoing.

“This could be brought up at the next meeting,” she said. “Please understand what tabling means. That means we can all go home and think about it.”

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/13/1576602/plan-to-redraw-districts-may-wait.html#ixzz0l0lICs4N

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