County beings redistricting talks
Sumner County commissioners could choose to change more than just district lines as part of a state-mandated redistricting process that must occur every 10 years following a federal census.
During the first meeting of the county’s redistricting committee last month, Wesley Robertson with the University of Tennessee County Technical Assistance Service informed members that state law allows commissioners to make certain changes to district structures if they so desire.
By law, a county legislative body can have anywhere between nine and 25 members and up to three members per district. Sumner County has 12 districts with 24 total members.
“If you wanted to change your structure, the state would prefer that you do it now,” Robertson said on Aug. 23. “It just makes sense. We have the new (population) data. If you want to do that then now is the time.”
Committee members have not said if they want to make any changes to the overall structure of the commission. The group’s second meeting was scheduled to take place Wednesday evening after this newspaper’s deadline.
According to 2020 Census data, Sumner County now has 196,281 residents – an increase of 35,636 residents during the last decade.
If no changes are made to the overall number of commission districts, each one should ideally include 16,357 residents based on the updated population numbers. However, district sizes currently range from 13,921 residents to 22,026 residents before any changes are made to the district boundaries.
“Really, this is a simple process if you could exclude the politics,” Robertson said about redrawing district lines. “But everything in county government would be simple if we exclude the politics sometimes.”
The county redistricting committee is scheduled to meet every Wednesday in September at the Sumner County Administration Building in Gallatin at 5 p.m.
Officials say they hope to have a redistricting option to present to the full commission to vote on in November.