The Norman Transcript

August 2, 2013

Commission looks at reapportionment

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The Norman Charter Commission looked at updating procedures for the Reapportionment Commission that reviews city ward boundaries annually. State law only requires that ward boundaries are redrawn every 10 years following the census.

The commission has been meeting monthly to review specific items of the city’s charter. The commission was tasked with looking at water rates, the process for removing the city manager and items to clean up verbiage.

This month, discussion revolved around removing the annual requirement for the Reapportionment Commission to meet. When the city was growing rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s and annexation was common, meeting annually to realign ward boundaries made sense. Not so anymore.

The charter commission has asked city staff to come back with some suggested language that will allow the Norman City Council to determine if there has been a major event that has unbalanced the ward populations. Such an event could trigger the need for the Reapportionment Commission. Otherwise, ward lines will be redrawn every decade as state law requires.

Instead of being a five-year appointment, the charter commission could recommend that the Reapportionment Commission be an ad hoc committee with an organizational meeting before the census.

Other recommended language changes would allow for reapportionment to be complete 180 days after the census is received.