After a public hearing with two citizen comments, Grimes County Commissioners Court moved to approve the redrawn commissioner precinct lines at its Nov. 10 Special Meeting.
County Judge Joe Fauth opened explaining why commissioner precinct lines were changed saying, “The proposed redistricting lines that have been drawn were to put Grimes County in compliance with law. We were out of balance based on the raw census numbers that were presented Allison, Bass & Mcgee. They were hired to help us with the redistricting.”
He added that demographic numbers from the census information were not received until late Tuesday night and that he had not had the opportunity to review them.
Fauth continued, “Once these proposed redistricting lines were established and reviewed, Pct. 1 would then have an actual population of 6,727. Pct. 2 would have 6,613. Pct. 3 would have 6,763 and Pct. 4 would have 6,761. That’s the total of folks, 26,864.”
Total Maximum Deviation in population above 10% is unconstitutional, with 5% or less desired. Elections Administrator Lucy Ybarra confirmed the new lines bring Grimes County’s Total Maximum Deviation to 2.23%.
Citizens speak Longtime Roans Prairie
Longtime Roans Prairie resident Rodney Floyd requested to stay in Pct. 2, saying, “We went through this struggle 10 years ago about getting out of Pct. 1 with that little bubble that runs around Roans Prairie and we would like to see that stay. I believe there is a total 67 people in that area that I’ve spoken to that would like to remain in Pct. 2.”
Referring to commerce, new subdivisions, existing community relationships and church groups, Floyd felt they would not be served as well by a representative out of Iola. Ybarra responded that the area in question falls within a rather large federally drawn census block and census blocks can’t be divided.
Fauth added that lines were redrawn to stay within census blocks and that doing away with the “squiggly line” jutting into Pct. 1 and using SH 30 as the dividing line, creates a cleaner line and clarity for voters.
Ybarra said, “Just remember, it’s not just the population numbers. We need to look at the ethnicity weight of each census block to make sure it falls along the same lines. If we change one area, we have to change another area, then another. It’s sort of a domino effect.”
Commenting on the loss of 1,630 people from his precinct, Commissioner David Dobyanski said, “I knew there would have to be that many people come out of my precinct. They explained that very clearly two weeks ago when we were at the conference in Round Rock. If you go back and look at all the things they’re talking about, ethnicity of the population and we have to do it by census blocks, our hands are kind of tied with what we can do with this.”
Mary Mable from Navasota was the last citizen to make a public comment. While she was not specific about what incorrect information she had received, she thanked the court for clarity, the community meeting and for its service.
Navasota pct. 3 racial breakdown
Pct. 3 Commissioner Barbara Walker reviewed the realignment of Pct. 3 and Pct. 4 along Cedar Creek, commenting that she he will pick up 297 voters.
Walker said, “The breakdown of those voters are, in terms of racial breakdown, 66 white being added, 77 blacks and 148 Hispanics. There are other nationalities that combine all together to make 100% of that 297 number.”
Pct. 3 and 4 Justice of the Peace Mark Laughlin asked how Grimes County Sheriff’s Office dispatch will determine which JP to call, specifically along the Pct. 2 and 4 line.
9-1-1 Coordinator Kat Lee explained that she programs dispatch and it will “automatically let the dispatcher know from the builtin map which JP to call.”