Sikes-Kline asks city for redistricting resolution

Concerned that the St. Johns County Board of Commissioners is considering splitting parts of the City of St. Augustine into separate voting districts at their meeting on Tuesday morning, St. Augustine City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline will bring forward her request for a resolution in support of keeping the city in one voting district Monday night.

During the regular business meeting Monday, beginning at 5:00 p.m., the commission will consider the proposed resolution that sends a strong message of support against splitting the geographic boundaries of the City of St. Augustine between two voting districts.

Last week the St. Johns County School Board unanimously adopted a recommendation of a redistricting plan, for their purpose, which preserves the City of St. Augustine within District 5.

The executive committee of the St. Johns County Republican Party unanimously approved a resolution at their regular meeting Thursday evening in support of redistricting “plan C – revised” which is the same plan recommended by the School Board.

Supervisor of Elections, Vicky Oakes, has not expressed support for any particular redistricting plan; however, she has made clear her preference that the School Board districts match the County Commission districts, if possible, so as not to confuse voters.

John Libby, the consultant relied on by the county for many years, authored the map that illustrates plan “C” — the revisions came from citizen input at town hall meetings. Each district is equivalent in population, within less than 2 percent variation, under “plan C – revised” representing about 30,000 residents in each of the five voting districts — and, under “plan C – revised”, the municipalities of Hastings, St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach remain intact.

The findings leading to the Sikes-Kline proposed resolution state that the plan adopted should preserve the integrity of the municipal political boundaries within a single district and should ensure that the elected representative of a district understand and promote the political, economic and social values of the municipalities within a designated district.

Although approval of Resolution 2011-32 by the city commission is a sign of support, it is not binding on members of the St. Johns County Board of Commissioners — who may adopt their own plan; contrary to the plan supported by the School Board and other official bodies.

If you are planning to attend — the regular St. Augustine City Commission meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m. Monday and will be held in the Alcazar Room; on the first floor of City Hall, located at 75 King Street in St. Augustine. It will be broadcast live on Comcast Government TV (Cable Channel 3) and is streamed over the Internet.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photograph

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