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(a) Number of districts. There shall be five (5) city council districts.
(b) Districting commission; composition; appointment; terms; vacancies; compensation.
(1) There shall be a districting commission consisting of five (5) members. No more than three (3) commission members may belong to the same political party. The city council shall appoint five (5) members, one member from each of the city’s five (5) districts. These five (5) members shall, with the affirmative vote of at least three (3) members, choose one of their members who shall serve as chairperson.
(2) No member of the commission shall be employed by the city or hold any other elected or appointed position in the city.
(3) The city council shall appoint the commission no later than one (1) year and five (5) months before the first general election of the city council after each federal decennial census. The commission’s term shall end upon adoption of a districting plan, as set forth in section 6.02(c).
(4) In the event of a vacancy on the commission by death, resignation, incapacity or moving out of the district within 30 days of his or her appointment, the city council shall appoint a new member enrolled in the same political party and from the same city district from which his or her predecessor was selected, to serve the balance of the term remaining.
(5) No member of the districting commission shall be removed from office by the city council except for cause and upon notice and hearing.
(6) The members of the commission shall serve without compensation except that each member shall be allowed actual and necessary expenses to be audited in the same manner as other city charges.
(7) The commission may hire or contract for necessary staff and may require agencies of city government to provide technical assistance. The commission shall have a budget as provided by the city council.
(c) Powers and duties of the districting commission; hearings; submissions, and approval of plan.
(1) Following each decennial census or upon reliable evidence that the city’s population has increased more than 15% since the last redistricting, the commission shall consult the city council and shall prepare a plan for dividing the city into districts for the election of council members. In preparing the plan, the commission shall be guided by the criteria set forth in section 6.02(d). The report on the plan shall include a map and description of districts recommended.
(2) The commission shall hold one (1) or more public hearings not less than 30 days before it submits the plan to the city council. The commission shall make its plan available to the public for inspection and comment not less than 30 days before its public hearing.
(3) The commission shall submit its plan to the city council not less than nine (9) months before the first general election of the city council after each decennial census.
(4) The plan shall be deemed adopted by the city council unless disapproved within 21 days by the vote of the majority of all members of the city council. If the city council fails to adopt the plan, it shall return the plan to the commission with its objections, and with the objections of individual members of the council.
(5) Upon rejection of its plan, the commission shall prepare a revised plan and shall submit such revised plan to the city council no later than 21 days after the initial plan is rejected. Such revised plan shall be deemed adopted by the city council unless disapproved within 14 days by the vote of two-thirds of all of the members of the city council and unless, by a vote of two-thirds of all of its members, the city council votes to file a petition in the Circuit Court, Minnehaha County, for a determination that the plan fails to meet the requirements of this charter. The city council shall file its petition no later than 10 days after its disapproval of the plan. Upon a final determination upon appeal, if any, that the plan meets the requirements of this charter, the plan shall be deemed adopted by the city council and the commission shall deliver the plan to the city clerk. The plan delivered to the city clerk shall include a map and description of the districts.
(6) If in any year population figures are not available at least one (1) year and five (5) months before the first general election following the decennial census, the city council may by local law shorten the time periods provided for districting commission action in subsections (2), (3), (4), and (5) of this section.
(d) Districting plan; criteria. In preparation of its plan for dividing the city into districts for the election of council members, the commission shall apply the following criteria which, to the extent practicable, shall be applied and given priority in the order in which they are herein set forth.
(1) Districts shall be equal in population except where deviations from equality result from the application of the provisions hereinafter set forth, but no such deviation may exceed five (5) percent of the average population for all city council districts according to the figures available from the most recent census.
(2) Districts shall consist of contiguous territory.
(3) No voting precinct (as set by the counties) shall be divided in the formation of districts.
(4) The number of districts which include territory in more than one (1) county shall be as few as possible.
(5) Consistent with the foregoing provisions, the aggregate length of all district boundaries shall be as short as possible.
(e) Effect of enactment. The new city council districts and boundaries as of the date of enactment shall supersede previous council districts and boundaries for all purposes of the next regular city election, including nominations. The new districts and boundaries shall supersede previous districts and boundaries for all other purposes as of the date on which all council members elected at that regular city election take office.
(4-13-10, § B)