Unlike the state legislature, Lexington council members are serving in relatively newly aligned districts. Redistricting at the local level was accomplished in late 2011. State lawmakers still haven’t reached an agreement. Their first attempt was ruled unconstitutional. Members of Lexington’s Council have put the process into law. Vice Mayor Linda Gorton orchestrated the move to formalize the process. “We have never had an ordinance, ever that guided our redistricting so this is like a big new first,” said Gorton.
The vice mayor set out the guidelines to establish a committee to redraw boundaries, based on new census information. Gorton says problems at the state level got her to thinking about the importance of structure.
“When we had all of the situations surrounding the state legislative redistricting, I decided it was time we put something into law, so there’s something to follow that’s a good open process,” added Gorton.
Lexington’s council contains 12 district representatives and three at large members. Gorton says it’s possible the number of council districts could change some day.
“As our population grows, people question whether we need one fewer at large for example and one more district, so the district folks aren’t representing so many people,” said Gorton.
Gorton stresses any change in the makeup of the Urban County Council would require a change in the government charter. She says that would mean a voter referendum.