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San Antonio's new council district maps are finalized; all that remains is city council approval

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City of San Antonio
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The proposed draft plan of the redrawn city council district's move nearly all of boundaries in some capacity as several thousand residents are shuffled to equal out each district's population size.

The boundaries of San Antonio’s city council districts are changing after months of discussion to better align them to an ideal population size. A committee of 23 people appointed by the city council gave the greenlight to a final map over the weekend.

Now the council will have the final up-or-down vote on whether to approve them. The map divides San Antonio into 10 districts and every
10 years the lines are shifted to represent population changes. Although the process takes months, several 11th hour shifts of the lines were made over the previous week.

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City of San Antonio
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The final map approved by the redistricting advisory committee was approved on Saturday.

San Antonio’s population in 2010 was 1,327,407 residents. As of the 2020 Census, that number increased by 107,000 new residents to 1,434,270.

The increase means that council districts needed to be close to a perfect ideal size of 143,494. But the lines can’t be drawn to that perfect equal number, so the city charter allows for a deviation of a maximum 10%.

Over the last decade, the districts had become lopsided in population. For instance, before the proposals, District 1, which is downtown and the city’s near north side, and District 5, the city’s west side, had more 20,000 residents under that number. District 1 had 123,000 residents and District 5 had 119,000.

The redistricting meetings, which at some points got contentious, ended on Saturday with District 5 having 136,000 residents and District 1 having 137,000 residents.

Other districts, like District 8 on the northwest side, had 170,000 residents, but after the final proposed redistricting maps there are 149,000 residents slated to be in the redrawn district.

Over the last week, last minute changes were made to keep Brackenridge Park in District 2 and keep most of downtown in District 1. A proposed change that was reversed had split the northern part of downtown between District 1 and District 5.

Members of the business community, like San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President Richard Perez, advocated during the committee's final meeting on Saturday to keep most of the central business district as one council district.

“Which is important to the continued recovery and success of our community and is taking on an additional importance in this post-covid citywide recovery,” he said.

The final version of the downtown split ended with a small portion of mostly neighborhoods being shifted into District 5.

The city council will vote on Thursday, along with another major decision on homestead exemptions for homeowners in San Antonio.

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