Sugar Land will look to balance out the population in its four City Council districts with redistricting measures taken this summer and put into effect in January.

Current situation: Sugar Land City Attorney Meredith Riede led a discussion on the redistricting process during a May 16 Sugar Land city council meeting.

The 2020 census showed Sugar Land’s four City Council districts do not contain equal population numbers. Each district would ideally have a population of 27,751, which is the city’s total population divided by four. By law, the acceptable deviation between a city’s largest and smallest district is 10%.

A law firm conducted an assessment of the districts and found a 22.62% deviation among the districts. The district populations sit at the following counts:
  • District 1: 25,046
  • District 2: 31,322
  • District 3: 27,779
  • District 4: 28,855
The approach: To ensure proportional district populations and equal representation on City Council, redistricting must occur before the 2024 single-member district election. Sugar Land previously went through the redistricting process in 2018.

The process began with the assessment of the district populations. The city now needs to form a redistricting committee by June 6.

There are a number of approaches to this, Riede said, but a nine-member committee is recommended. Each City Council member, including the at-large members, would nominate one person with the mayor nominating two former City Council members as well.

The committee will then be responsible for redrawing the districts from June through August using a computer program and adhering to guidelines such as following identifiable geographical boundaries, preserving minority voting impact and maintaining communities of interest. Members of the public will also be able to submit their own redistricting plans.

The committee and members of the public will file their recommended plans with City Council by Aug. 15. City Council will hold a workshop on the plans Aug. 22, a public hearing and first reading Sept. 5, and a second reading Sept. 19. The new plan will then be filed with the county and go into effect in January.

What they’re saying: “In both 2011 and 2018, the committees were able to accomplish this in just three meetings. The computer program is effective, and your committee members are determined and dedicated, and this actually goes pretty fast,” Riede said.