Jacksonville, FL (October 25, 2021) – At a regularly scheduled meeting of the Southeast Citizens Planning Advisory Committee (“CPAC”), Council Member Danny Becton presented the topic of redistricting and gave an update on the efforts of the Special Committee on Redistricting. The CPAC meets on the fourth Monday of the month, except for December, at the Mandarin Senior Citizens Center located at 3438 Hartley Road.
Council Member Becton began his presentation by discussing the growth Jacksonville has experienced stating, “Jacksonville has seen rapid growth over the past decade, increasing at a rate of 1.16 percent per year to become the 12th largest city in the United States. District 11 specifically has grown from 60,389 residents to 90,767 residents, which is an increase of about 50.3 percent. Because of this rapid growth and the fact that it is the largest sized district on the Southside, District 11 is the logical starting point to begin the rebalancing process. Due to this increase and the need to reduce the district population by 16,000 to 20,000, District 11 is the key to rebalancing all other districts”, Council Member Becton concluded.
Council Member Becton also explained the process redistricting was taking. “Redistricting is an eight-month process”, Council Member Becton stated, “and the committee must develop a proposed plan within 150 days of receiving the 2020 Census data”. The Special Redistricting Committee is made up of five council members, of which Council Member Becton is the Vice Chair of the committee, and it includes two non-voting members of the Duval County Public Schools Board of Education. All who get their guidance directly from the COJ Office of General Counsel to ensure the process stays within legal requirements and precedence. Council Member Becton also detailed the procedures of the process outlined at the initial committee meeting on August 18th, 2021, which included the following guidelines:
1) To Select Bill Killingsworth, Director of the City’s Planning and Development Department, to head the effort for map modification.
2) To direct the process to use “Total Population”, not Voting Age Population in the consideration of boundaries.
3) To instruct that the process keeps the objective of minimizing river crossings.
4) To not start from scratch but use existing districts in the effort to only expand and shrink those districts, as necessary.
The committee also outlined criteria for which the committee would follow that include: districts that are compact, contiguous and will focus on Communities of Interest. Regarding the committee’s timeline and when the process must conclude, Council Member Becton stated the following:
“The deadline for the committee to complete its creation of an Ordinance is January 9th, 2022. Once the ordinance is filed, it will be delivered to the Rules Committee and then to the full City Council to be approved. The Rules Committee has 45 days to hold a minimum of three Public Hearings. Any substantial changes during that time could trigger additional meetings. At the end of the Public Hearing process, the Rules Committee will forward the plan to the full City Council for consideration, debate, and ultimately a vote for adoption. As adopted, the first General Election to use these new maps, can only occur outside of at least nine months. That means this will only affect the 2023 City Elections for Mayor and Constitutional Officers, as well as City Council, and not the School Board Elections in 2022. Now, what happens if the council fails to adopt the ordinance before the eight-month deadline? The city’s Office of General Counsel is required by the Code to refer the matter to the Fourth Judicial Circuit and a judge will draw the plan.”
Council Member Becton went on to explain that the committee is on track to complete its proposal by the end of the year, sending it to the Rules Committee and then back before the full council for a final vote well ahead of the deadline.
Members of the CPAC were also able to ask questions.
- One question asked, was it possible that more Public Hearings outside of the three required could occur? Council Member Becton stated, “Yes, the committee can hold more beyond the three required.”
- Another question asked, was regarding the school board districts and how they are drawn. Council Member Becton explained, “the School Board Districts are a combination of two City Council districts. For example, Council Districts 6 and 11 are combined to make up School Board District 7.” Asked if this process in creating School Board districts will continue, Council Member Becton responded “per the City Charter they are required to be drawn as such.”
Finally, a question was asked about how the citizens can get more involved in the process? Council Member Becton, who had experience with this during the last redistricting process as chair of the SE CPAC Growth Management subcommittee stated the following:
“The CPAC organization is an excellent forum to use to get involved by staying informed and updated and have the ability to provide input into the redistricting process. It was back in 2011, that I was sitting where you are, I got involved and made a huge difference in representing the Southside, helping redraw the lines and accomplishing a major objective to split the Beaches representation from Baymeadows. It is concerns and objectives like that for which you can play a part in.”
For More Information on the Redistricting Process, Visit: