Brookhaven will release drafts of possible new City Council district maps to the public during an April 13 council work session.

The council will view the proposed drafts during its work session, which takes place at 5 p.m. before the regular City Council meeting. Following the presentation, the drafts will be posted to the city’s website. Public input options will be announced at a later date, according to a press release. City Council meetings and work sessions can be viewed here.

The city has decided to move forward with redistricting — a process that takes place every 10 years at the local, state and federal level — despite the lack of 2020 U.S. Census data. Census data is fundamental to redistricting, but the release of 2020 data has been pushed back to September due to COVID-19. 

While redistricting ahead of the census data could open up the possibility for a lawsuit if the districts end up being unbalanced, city officials say they are concerned about Brookhaven’s numerous recent annexations and the city’s upcoming elections. Brookhaven has annexed multiple large areas over the past few years, leaving District 4 out of balance with the other three districts. The city is also set to hold elections this November, but qualifying dates for candidates are August 18-20 — before the Census data comes out. 

Moving forward with redistricting now is important for ensuring residents know what district they live in and whether they can run for office or not, the city said in a press release about the April 13 hearing. 

The city contracted with the consulting firm FLO Analytics to help redraw district lines at its Feb. 23 council meeting. The firm will produce population projections based on “data from the U.S. Census, the American Community Survey, state, county, and regional population forecasts, and local land and building development records,” according to a press release. 

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.