But Councilman Johnny Sinclair, chairman of the three-member redistricting committee, said he worked to keep the redistricting map similar to the one council members currently serve under, which was drawn up after the 2000 Census.
“I wanted to make it as painless as possible,” he said.
The committee, which also consists of Councilwoman Annette Lewis and Councilman Anthony Coleman, reviewed the map at a short meeting Thursday evening. Sinclair said he plans to present it to the entire Council at a special called meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday. He then wants to show the map at two “open house” meetings before having official required public hearings at regular council meetings in October and November.
The map must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice by July 2013 to ensure any issues are dealt with by November 2013, the next Council election.
The most time-consuming issue with the redistricting process has been creating a majority-black ward. With the map that will go before the Council, black residents would constitute 50.01 percent of Coleman’s ward. Sinclair said the largest change with the district is that it takes in several apartment complexes on Roswell Road east of Interstate 75 and some multi-family dwellings on Bells Ferry Road in the north end of town.
The proposed districts were required to be within 5 percent of 8,083 residents, which equates to Marietta’s 2010 population of 56,579 divided by seven. As of 2010, Ward 5 had dropped to 6,989 residents. The proposed Ward 5 would have 7,946 residents.
After the meeting, Lewis said she did not agree with splitting the Manget area between hers and Coleman’s districts. She said Council is legally required to keep “communities of interest” as intact as possible, though she admitted that can be overruled by federal regulations requiring majority-minority districts.
“We need to listen to our residents,” Lewis said.
Councilman Philip Goldstein, who attended the meeting but isn’t on the committee, said everybody has to sacrifice in redistricting.
“There’s some areas I’d rather not lose, but, again, this is a numbers-driven process,” he said.
No one spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. Sinclair said residents would get another chance to address the issue during Monday’s Council meeting.