City cancels mayoral election, sets criteria for ward redistricting process

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 3/3/22

The Katy City Council Monday canceled the May mayoral election because it was uncontested. It also began the process by which the city’s two wards will be reconfigured to meet federal voting rights laws.

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City cancels mayoral election, sets criteria for ward redistricting process

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The Katy City Council Monday canceled the May mayoral election because it was uncontested. It also began the process by which the city’s two wards will be reconfigured to meet federal voting rights laws.

William “Dusty” Thiele, an insurance executive, is the only candidate to file for the mayoralty. In May, he will take the oath of office and succeed retiring incumbent Mayor Bill Hastings. Thiele has served on two different occasions on the city council. He has served on several city boards and commissions. Term of office is three years.

The council is comprised of one at-large member, two members from Ward A, and two members from Ward B.

Attorney Gunnar Seaquist, of the Bickerstaff Heath Delgado law firm, is helping the city with the redistricting process. He said the council was being asked to approve criteria to proceed with the districting, and guidelines for public participation.

“We will prepare a draft plan to start with,” Seaquist said. “We will bring that before you at our next meeting. Our draft plan is just a staring off point.”

He said the maps will come from council members based on what they know is best for their districts.

Among the criteria the city will follow during the redistricting process are:

  • Easily identifiable geographic boundaries.
  • Communities of interest should be maintained in a single district, and attempts should be made to avoid splitting neighborhoods.
  • Council wards should be composed of whole voting precincts. Where this is not possible or practicable, district should be drawn considering county election precincts.
  • The districting plan should be based on existing districts.
  • Districts must be configured so that they are relatively equal in total population according to the 2020 Census. Seaquist said the discrepancy should be no more than a 10% difference in population between the two wards. Presently, there is a larger discrepancy and redistricting becomes necessary.

Guidelines for public participation, as adopted by the council, include:

  • Plans must be submitted in writing and legible.
  • Plans must show the total population and voting age populations for African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Anglo/other for each proposed single-member city council district based on the 2020 Census data.
  • Plans should redistrict the entire city.
  • Plans should confirm to redistricting criteria the council will use in drawing the wards.
  • Comments must be submitted in writing and legible, even if the induvial presents his or her views orally at a public hearing.
  • People providing comments and plans must identify themselves, with name, address, telephone number, and if available an email address.
  • All comments and proposed plans must be submitted at the close of the public hearing.

The city expects to hold hearings and the council must approve a final redistricting plan.

City of Katy, Katy City Council, Katy mayor, election, redistricting

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