The time for redrawing the political map of Volusia County has come.
Once every 10 years, following the U.S. census and the refining of the numbers of who lives where, the County Council and the Volusia County School Board must change the lines of their five electoral zones to ensure there is fair and equitable representation.
“We shared all the maps with the School Board,” Assistant County Attorney Sebrina Slack told the council Oct. 5.
For the upcoming reapportionment, six maps have been prepared for the County Council. The proposed maps were created by the county’s Geographic Information Services staff and submitted to the council for comment and discussion.
In each of the two jurisdictions, the elected leaders must make certain the districts are roughly equal in population.
Since the 2010 census, Volusia County’s population has grown from 494,593 to 553,542 in 2020. That is a head-count increase of 58,949, or almost 12 percent.
Based on the latest census data, each of the five districts must have approximately 110,000 people.
In the initial discussion, County Council members winnowed the six maps to three. They also looked favorably on the map labeled Plan F.
“F, which is for fabulous,” County Chair Jeff Brower said, after Council Member Heather Post moved to consider it as one of the top proposals.
Post lives in Ormond Beach, which is in District 4. Brower, who was elected countywide last year, lives in DeLeon Springs.
“We could also include [Plan] A, which is for adequate,” Brower added.
The suggestion of Plan A did not suit District 1 Council Member Barb Girtman, of DeLand.
“I am 100 percent in agreement with F,” she said. “However, A is not adequate for me.”
Girtman recommended the council include Plan B for further consideration, and her colleagues agreed. Thus, Plans F, B and A — in that order — will be the working list for the County Council’s coming deliberations on redistricting.
As of now, the districts for electing council members and School Board members are not the same. For several years, beginning in the 1990s, the districts for the two entities were uniform.
“I’m very hopeful that the School Board will join us and have the same districts,” Brower said.
The two elected bodies are now scheduled to meet together at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, in the first floor training room of the Thomas C. Kelly County Administration building, 123 W. Indiana Ave., in DeLand to discuss reapportionment.
In order for a reapportionment plan to be adopted, the county council must approve it by a two-thirds vote.
Whichever plan the council ultimately adopts will be in effect for the 2022 elections. Next year, six County Council seats — the five districts and the at-large post — will be up for grabs. Brower, who was elected countywide in 2020, is the only member not at risk of losing his post next year.