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The newly proposed redistricting map.

They met. They talked. They voted. They talked some more. And they still have not yet agreed on a single political map for Volusia County for the next 10 years.

The Oct. 28 joint meeting of the County Council and the School Board ended in a deadlock over how to divide the county, so as to have the same districts for choosing representatives for both bodies. All may not be lost, however.

In the wake of the joint failure of the County Council and the School Board to agree on how to carve up Volusia County for the next decade, one more revised map has been drafted for consideration.

What may be the final attempt to settle on making the districts for electing the council and the board standard — rather than having each of the two elected bodies continuing with drawing different districts for each — comes up for discussion by the County Council Nov. 2.

“You represent everybody in this county,” Elections Supervisor Lisa Lewis told both panels at the outset of the Oct. 28 meeting.

Lewis appealed for consistency in the districts to simplify elections for her department and for the electorate.

“It’s confusing. It’s more work, but it’s something we can handle,” she added.

County Chair Jeff Brower agreed.

“It’s my hope that we can come together … to come together with one map,” he said.

After almost three hours of debate, motions, amendments to motions, counter-motions and parliamentary confusion, the two bodies politely walked away, burdened by their failure to reach agreement on reapportionment.

The proceedings of the joint meeting became quite tangled toward the end — so much so that a county clerk taking notes for the minutes of the meeting said she was unclear about votes on certain motions.

School Board Chair Linda Cuthbert said she is willing to try once again to negotiate a common map for the two bodies.

Cuthbert objected to a map which, though favored by a majority of the council, would place Enterprise and Osteen, along with the elementary schools that bear their names, in the sprawling District 3 that covers southeast Volusia.

The council and the School Board pored over five proposed maps, refined versions of other previous ones. What was satisfactory to one or a few members of each body did not find favor with others. There were maps that split cities, such as DeBary on the west side of the county and Port Orange and Daytona Beach on the east side.

There were maps that put schools in a board district different from the one that parents and board members want.

One victory — albeit a provincial one — came when the two bodies agreed to keep DeLand and Lake Helen in District 1. That decision came after heartfelt appeals, including a history lesson on the founding of the two towns.

“Helen is Henry DeLand’s daughter,” Lake Helen Vice Mayor Jim Connell said. “How much more related can you get? … We’re in West Volusia. … Lake Helen and DeLand are joined at the hip.”

The council further agreed to keep the Volusia County Fairgrounds in District 1.

Yet, the Oct. 28 conference ended in an impasse. Earlier in the evening, Council Member Fred Lowry wondered aloud if the two sides could settle on a reapportionment plan.

“To me, I think it’s going to be impossible to get everything we want it to be,” he said. “We’re trying to do too many things with one map.”

The inability of the two bodies to agree on a single map made Lewis quite emotional.

“I do appreciate each one of you for coming together and doing this,” she told the County Council and the School Board, just before they adjourned. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

One point worth noting was the Oct. 28 meeting progressed and ended without the bitterness and rancor so common in political debates nowadays.

In the wake of the joint failure, one more revised map has been drafted for consideration.

What may be the final attempt to settle on making the districts for electing the council and the board standard — rather than having each of the two elected bodies continuing with drawing different districts for each — comes up for discussion by the County Council Nov. 2. 

The new map was unveiled late Friday afternoon, Oct. 29. 

The latest revised redistricting proposal:

— Places Enterprise and Osteen in District 3

— Splits Port Orange between Districts 2 and 3

— Splits Daytona Beach between Districts 2 and 4 

— Keeps the cities of DeLand and Lake Helen and the Volusia County Fairgrounds in District 1

— Splits DeBary between Districts 1 and 5

The County Council convenes at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, in the Council Chambers of the Thomas C. Kelly County Administration Center, 123 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand. The meeting is open to the public.

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