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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tampa City Council districts tweaked to rebalance the effects of lopsided growth



With city elections one year away, officials have made some minor adjustments to the district boundaries for the four Tampa City Council members elected from single-member districts.

Each of these districts is meant to represent a quarter of the city, though the population has shifted over the past decade. District 7, which covers North and New Tampa, had grown more than 35 percent to include nearly 92,000 residents. The district, represented by Lisa Montelione, not only had three of the most populous voting precincts in the city, but also had many of the precincts that grew most since 2010.

To rebalance the districts, the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission considered six different redistricting scenarioes. It selected one that affected five voting precincts and produced four council districts with an average of 85,469 residents apiece. (The council's other three members are elected citywide). Click here for a map of the approved plan. Click here for more details about the process and different scenarioes.

Along the way, the planning commission,  which is the agency designated by state law to adjust the districts, held six public meetings and sent notices to each of Tampa's 106 neighborhood Associations since last fall.

Montelione, for example, saw some constituents south of Busch Boulevard moved from her district into District 5, represented by Frank Reddick.

"They weren't huge changes, but because the population is so dense in those locations it made a difference in the numbers," Montelione said.

Reddick said he didn't have a problem with this redistricting, but he noted that the percentage of black voters in his East Tampa district droppedfrom 63.5 to 61.7 percent under the new scenario. That's not a trend that can continue for District 7 to be able to elect an African-American representative to the council, he said.

"The NAACP and some of the other people in the community, we're discussing this already," Reddick said.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 3:37pm]


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