Provo City Council to discuss redistricting

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The Provo City Council is holding an open house  tomorrow night to discuss potential new district maps from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Provo Council Chambers.

Redistricting is required by law every 10 years in accordance with the Utah State Constitution. New population numbers are made available every 10 years from the decennial Federal census. This process is necessary to draw new council district boundaries to accurately reflect current population densities.

The redistricting process for Provo started in February of this year through the use of an online redistricting web app. From Feb. 3 to April 30, the public was able to draw map suggestions and submit them via the web app.

Concerning the web app, Tiffany Scherbel, a policy analyst for the municipal council said, “We’ve had a really good response. We had over 60 maps submitted.”

Scherbel  explained that developing new district maps can be difficult and time-consuming due to the numerous external factors that need to be considered. This year is the first time that the city has used a web app for community outreach, and the high number of submissions is a positive indicator of high community involvement and interest.

A Citizens Advisory Panel was charged with the examination and analysis of various options based on the online redistricting web app. The panel presented their  findings at a council retreat on Wednesday, June 13.

Six options were presented at the retreat that will be discussed in detail tomorrow night. Various options involve maintaining five geographic districts in Provo with two at-large districts. Other options shift toward seven geographic districts without any at-large districts. The panel’s report to the council with accompanying maps and options can be found on Provo City’s website.

After the Provo City Council has properly reviewed the comments and suggestions given tomorrow night, the council will hold an official public hearing during their regularly scheduled council meeting on Tuesday, July 10. Shortly after the public hearing, the council will make the new boundaries official before the state constitution’s July 27 deadline.

Scherbel explained that the council is interested in as much public feedback as possible. The council is reaching out to the community through the online web app and the open house to hear rationale on what people want. The city is planning on over 200 people at the open house, but is hoping for as many as possible.

“The council is entering this open house with an open mind and really wants some feedback,” Scherbel said.

 

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