LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Killeen City Council is expected to vote on whether to enter into a contract with an Austin law firm to perform redistricting services for the city.

The matter will be discussed during a regularly scheduled council meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, according to the agenda for the meeting.

A vote on the resolution was postponed last week until further clarification could be provided to some members of council.

The council is considering entering into an Interlocal Copperation Contract with Austin-based law firm Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP. to provide redistricting services for the city’s voting districts. The agency will determine if Killeen’s voting districts are unbalanced during an initial assessment. If they are out of balance, the law firm will work with city officials and staff to redevelop a redistricting process that keeps it in compliance.

Redistricting is based off of the U.S. Census, which is performed every 10 years to determine the amount of people living in the country. From there, federal, state and local governmental agencies will draw their voting boundaries, according to a staff report from Killeen’s City Manager Kent Cagle. City population data from the 2020 Census is due out later this year.

“Cities with single-member voting districts, such as Killeen, are constitutionally required to draw their single-member voting districts so that each district has equal or nearly equal population and complies with the Voting Rights Act,” the staff report said.

The city said Bickerstaff was determined to be the most experienced agency it has found to provide the service after interviewing multiple law firms.

“Bickerstaff has experience successfully coordinating joint redistricting efforts in multiple communities including Bexar County, the City of San Antonio and Alamo College District; Brazos County, the Cities of Bryan and College Station and Bryan ISD; Galveston County, the City of Galveston and Galveston ISD,” the city said.

If council approves to work with Bickerstaff, the contract will be in the amount of $27,190.

Cagle is recommending council approve the contract in order for the city’s districts to be in compliance with federal guidelines.

In May, an interlocal agreement between the Bell County, Temple Independent School District, and the cities of Temple and Killeen was unanimously approved by the Bell County Commissioners Court, according to FME News Service. The agreement is to allow the four bodies to collectively be redistricted by the same company this year. The four entities will have the county act as a financial agent for the agreement, but with each able to work with the firm Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP on their own.

In other business, council will also be discussing the budget for Fiscal Year 2022 during the workshop portion of the meeting. The budget was supposed to be discussed during a workshop meeting on Saturday, but council approved a motion to move talks to this week. Officials will also receive a financial report for the second quarter of 2021 during the workshop, which takes place immediately after the regularly scheduled meeting.

Another workshop meeting, which also acts as a public forum on the proposed 2022 budget, is scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m. to also talk about the new budget.

To view city council agendas, go to https://killeen.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.

254-501-7553 |xfontno@kdhnews.com

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