City can start redistricting process

By Anthony Scott

Killeen Daily Herald

Census numbers are in and results show Killeen jumped from No. 24 to No. 21 on the list for largest cities in Texas. In addition, Killeen’s growth outpaced national, state and county averages for population increases.

City manager Connie Green reported these findings and more in a brief to council at its regular workshop Tuesday evening at the Utility Collections Building.

In summary, Killeen’s population went up by about 47 percent in the last decade.

The U.S. Census estimated Killeen was about 86,911 in 2000. It is now about 127,921. In the process of growing, Killeen passed Abilene, Beaumont, Carrollton and Waco in population.

“I expect at the next census count Killeen will be in the Top 20,” Green said.

Killeen accounts for about 41 percent of Bell County’s population, which grew by about 30 percent to about 310,235 people.

Texas grew by about 20 percent and had about 25 million people as of 2010. The United States

total growth for the past decade was about 9 percent to about 308,700,000 people.

“Seems like everybody came to Texas; the Texas population increased significantly,” Green said.

City Attorney Kathy Davis then presented an overview of the redistricting process the City Council will embark upon.

“We do have a big job ahead of us because, as we know, with new Census numbers comes redistricting,” Davis said.

Davis said the council is required to follow the city charter, the Voting Rights Act, Texas Election Code and case law when it redraws district lines.

Much of the brief focused on voting laws targeted toward protecting minority voting power. Sections of the Voting Rights Act prohibit discrimination based on race and language.

Davis warned council members to avoid dividing minority voting areas or from packing them into one voting block.

Other city business conducted included a presentation regarding the city sign ordinance, committee reports and the discussion of land-use cases and agenda items. Several items were discussed in executive session, including evaluations of the presiding municipal judge and associate municipal judge and potential litigation and legal advice regarding the construction of city facility.