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Redistricting Required For Hopkins County Due To Population Growth Reflected In 2020 Census

Changes Proposed By ATCOG Would Mostly Impact Precincts 1 and 2 in Sulphur Springs

Hopkins County Commissioners Court Monday morning will be asked to consider approving a number of items, including a redistricting proposal which would impact Precincts 1 and 2 in Sulphur Springs, and amended and restated 381 agreements with Hopkins Energy LLC and a road maintenance agreement with Stampede Solar Project LLC. The 9 a.m. meeting agenda also calls for election canvassing.

County Redistricting

Ark-Tex Council of Governments Executive Director Chris Brown during a work session last week discussed with Hopkins County Commissioners Court the need for redistricting of Commissioners, Justice of the Peace and Constable Precincts and polling boundaries for elections due to the population growth data reported the 2020 Census. Hopkins County had 35,161 residents in 2010 and 36,787 in 2020. The increase overall has remained 2-4 percent for the past few years. Across the state the population increased 16 percent over the last 10 years, the county and ATCOG officials reported. While growth in the county has remained rural, the majority of state growth has been in the Austin, Houston and San Antonio area.

Precinct 1 has had the largest population increase, with a total of 9,899 residents, 24 percent of whom are minorities, according to the data Brown presented at the Nov. 1 Commissioners Court meeting. Precinct 2 has the smallest population with only 8,664 residents, 38 percent of whom are minority population. Precinct 3 has the next smallest population of 9,047, with a 29 percent minority population. Precinct 4 has a population of 9,177 people, 27 percent of whom are considered minorities, according to Census information presented by Brown.

Based on a study of that data, redistricting is required to better balance the precincts. ATCOG is recommending the redistricting occur in Sulphur Springs, which would mostly impact Precincts 1 and 2. Brown said small changes in Precinct 1 and Precinct 2 boundaries inside Sulphur Springs should mean no change to physical addresses in the county, particularly renumbering of county roads, which start with the precinct number in which the road is located. It would mean some people within the city limits of Sulphur Springs would be casting ballots for Precinct 2 offices in the future instead of those in Precinct 1. But the redistricting or restructuring of precincts as proposed would. The current plan, also straightens up the boundary lines, making them straighter, according to Brown.

Taking into account the total population per precinct, percent of change and demographics for each precinct, redrawing the boundary lines within the city would reduce the overall population in Precinct 1 from 9,899 to 9,203. The minority population in Precinct 1 would increase slightly from 24 to 25 percent due to the overall population decrease in Precinct 1, if the Commissioners Court approves the redistricting recommendation proposed by ATCOG.

The proposed districting change would increase Precinct 2’s overall population from 8,664 to 9,360. The minority population would drop from 38 to 36 percent, however.

Precinct 2 Now following South Davis Street to Kyle, then making a block and continuing south on Fisher Street and ending just before Industrial Drive. However, as proposed, Precinct 2 would continue on Davis To Kyle, then follow Kyle to State Highway 154, following that to Mockingbird Lane, then curve to continue south on 154 until just before Industrial Drive. That would now include the streets of Hodge, Spence, Linda and Village Drives, Lee Street and Parkins Street to the service road. It would not include the triangle of property from South Broadway Street to Mockingbird Lane, north of Industrial Drive.

Precinct 1 would no longer continue about a block or more south east of Shannon Road on CR 2307. Precinct 1 would only include that small strip along Industrial south to Shannon, and east to Bill Bradford Road. Otherwise, Precinct 1 would pickup south of East Shannon Road with Mockingbird Lane as the eastern boundary on the east. Precinct 1 would still include Duckworth Street, Hollie Circle, and Cedar Springs south to the county line.

Brown is expected to again present to the Commissioners Court the proposed redistricting plan for Hopkins County during the 9 a.m. Commissioners Court session Nov. 8, 2021. A public hearing will be conducted to allow community members to ask questions or voice any comments they may have regarding redistricting. Then, the court would consider approving the proposed redistricting plan for the Commissioners’ Precincts as well as Justice of the peace and Constables, and polling election boundaries based on the 2020 US Census demographic data for Hopkins County.

Tax Assessor/Collector/ Voter Registrar Debbie Mitchell noted approving a redistricting map in early November should provide enough time to make changes over the next month so that they can be reflected on voter information for the approximately 1,400 of the 21,000 registered voters who would be impacted by any districting changes.

Other Court Business

Hopkins County Commissioners Court too during the regular Monday morning meeting is slated to canvass the votes from the Nov. 2 2021 Constitutional Amendment Election.

Two items on the Nov. 8 agenda have to do with planned solar projects in the Hopkins County. The commissioners are slated to consider approving an amended and restated 381 agreement with Hopkins Energy, LLC (the planned solar facility in Dike) and a road maintenance agreement with Stampede Solar Project, LLC.

The Commissioners Court has been asked to consider adding Sulphur Springs ISD Education Foundation as a charity to which jurors may donate their daily reimbursement for jury service.

Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace BJ Teer is to be recognized for completing 14 hours of training provided by Legal and Liability Risk Management Institute.

The court too will have an opportunity, if any are presented, to consider items such as resolutions and proclamations; disposal of assets; any personnel matters; bills, revenues, expenses and payroll; budget amendments and line item transfers; grants; and accept donations. No specifics were stated on the Nov. 8 meeting agenda regarding these items.

Work Session

After the 9 a.m. regular Commissioners Court meeting adjourns, the Commissioners Court is slated around 9:30 a.m. Nov. 8 to meet on the third floor of the courthouse for a work session.

The court officials, according to the posted agenda, are slated to discuss with Sheriff Lewis Tatum and Fire Marshal Andy Endsley operations, review of any revenue or expenditures, proposed improvements and repairs for their departments.

The work session agenda includes two others items, discussion on waste management trucks and a budget work session.

Author: Faith Huffman

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