LIVINGSTON — The Livingston Parish Council proposed a new redistricting plan Thursday night, a week after being sued over the plan it previously adopted.
Under the latest plan, all nine districts would be within 5 percent of the ideal population, in contrast to the previously adopted plan in which one district had 16.3 percent fewer residents than the ideal, while another had almost 10 percent more.
However, some councilmen had concerns about the boundaries of the new districts, though they discussed the specifics of those concerns in a private executive session called to discuss the lawsuit.
After the executive session, Council Chairman Randy Rushing told the audience that “a lot of people are not satisfied” with the proposal and some council members are concerned about “losing certain areas” in their districts.
“Everybody knows that we’ve got to stay within the 5 percent deviation” in population among the districts, but there may be some changes in the plan before it comes up for adoption later this month, Rushing said.
“There is no fight” among council members, said Councilman A.C. “Buddy” Mincey. “We’re just trying to get something that we all can agree on.”
No amendments will be made until the night of the public hearing, Councilman Jimmie McCoy said.
Joan Landry, who is running against Mincey in the fall elections, asked why the proposed changes couldn’t be discussed in public immediately.
Rushing said those discussions would be “one-on-one” with the consultant who prepared the plan for the council.
“If the public doesn’t like those changes, will they be changed back?” Landry asked.
Blayne Honeycutt, the council’s attorney, said no formal changes would be made to the plan until the public hearing, which the council set for 5 p.m. on July 18.
Dannie P. Garrett III, an attorney hired to advise the council on dealing with the suit filed in federal court over the redistricting plan the council had approved previously, said the latest plan appears to meet constitutional requirements and should withstand any court challenge.
In an earlier memo to the council, Garrett had advised members that it would be wise to change their earlier redistricting ordinance so that all the districts come within 5 percent of the ideal population.