Georgetown, Del., June 28, 2011: Sussex County government is taking the first steps in its 2011 redistricting effort for the county’s five elected County Council seats, and leaders are inviting the public to offer ideas on how those districts should be shaped for the decade ahead.
County officials on Tuesday, June 28, 2011, outlined the County Council redistricting process that must be completed by November. County Attorney J. Everett Moore Jr. will head the effort, preparing a plan and proposed district maps for Council consideration at a public hearing to be scheduled later this summer or early this fall.
Sussex County’s five-member County Council is the legislative body of County government, with members elected from individual districts. Each member serves a four-year term.
As part of the redistricting effort, County government is inviting the public to offer suggestions on how new Council districts should be drawn. The public can submit ideas by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by standard mail. Letters should be addressed to the Clerk of the Sussex County Council, PO Box 589, Georgetown, DE 19947.
Written and email correspondence will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. July 19.
By law, the County must adjust its Council districts – a process known as redistricting – following each decennial census to equally distribute the population among the five County Council districts. Based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 population results for Delaware, Sussex County’s population increased nearly 26 percent between 2000 and 2010, from 156,638 residents to 197,145 residents.
Given those figures, each of the newly drawn Council districts would encompass an average of 39,429 residents. Each district must be within 5 percent of that average, containing no fewer than 37,458 residents and no more than 41,401 residents.
County officials have received the 2010 Census data as well as redistricting maps for the Delaware House of Representatives, which Council district boundaries must follow. New County Council district maps will be drawn in accordance with all federal and State requirements, officials said.
Once the redistricting proposal is complete, copies of the draft plan and the proposed district maps will be available for public inspection on the County’s website at www.sussexcountyde.gov. The proposal also will be subject to a public hearing later this summer or early this fall. Notice of that meeting will be advertised in advance.
A map of the County’s current Council districts can be downloaded from the following link: www.sussexcountyde.gov/dept/assessment/mapping/othermaps/Council%20Districts.pdf
County Council President Michael H. Vincent said he is hopeful the public will take part in an important process that only comes along once every 10 years.
“This is a fundamental part of our democracy. It’s about who represents you, your neighbors and your community,” Mr. Vincent said. “And it’s about who will represent you for the decade to come, so I urge Sussex County residents to get involved in the process.”