As outlined in the first resolution, the reactivated task force will evaluate proposed district maps from community members, conduct public meetings regarding the maps and select an initial map to be considered by the City Council by Jan. 4.
The second resolution, regarding the amended redistricting process, further outlines the task force’s role as well as steps City Council will follow after the recommendation of an initial map, which is to serve as a starting point.
Fort Worth voters previously amended the city charter to increase the nine-member council—currently including eight members representing individual districts and the mayor—to an 11-member council that will include 10 members representing districts and the mayor. The process was to center around data from the 2020 census, which was released earlier this year.
As part of the process, residents are being invited to submit redistricting map proposals alongside council members, and the city has been conducting a series of training sessions on how to become involved and do so.
“This process allows each and every citizen of Fort Worth to draw their own map and submit it to the city of Fort Worth,” Council Member Chris Nettles said. “I encourage all of you that want to be a part of the process. Don’t talk about it—get on the computer, draw your map and submit it to the city of Fort Worth so you can be a part of this process.”
After being presented with an initial redistricting map from the task force, the council will then be required to explain the rationale for each change they make to that map, also explaining the consequences of each action.
The new procedure states the City Council will hold five public hearings in early 2022—one in January and four in February. The first meeting in January will be before any changes are made by the council to the task force’s map and the other four after the council has proposed a new map but before it has been adopted.
The reappointed task force is effective as of Oct. 27 and will consist of the members of the original group. The task force was created in August 2020 and dissolved earlier this year after it presented its final report to the City Council in March and the council formally accepted it in April.
All meetings of the task force will be open to the public, and notice for each will be posted on the city of Fort Worth’s website. The task force will work alongside the city attorney’s office to acknowledge any legal concerns before submitting its chosen map to the council.
On Oct. 21, Fort Worth City Council will hold a special meeting at 9 a.m. that will include a briefing on map-drawing procedures as well as presentations of maps prepared by Council Members Cary Moon, Jared Williams and Chris Nettles.
More information and a schedule for map-drawing training sessions can be found here.
Steven Ryzewski contributed to this report.