Tarboro residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on the three redistricting options being considered when the Town Council holds a public hearing on Nov. 8.
The council contracted with Marshall Hurley PLLC and demographer Blake Esseltyne last month to do the work so that the federally mandated redistricting may take place.
The equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution requires that where electoral districts are used, they must be substantially equal in population so that each person’s vote counts about the same.
Essentyne told the council that his working objective is to craft districts with 1,340 residents — or one-eighth of Tarboro’s 2020 Census count of 10,640.
He showed council members the current population breakdown, along with the boundary map, and then presented three options for their consideration.
He explained that currently, Wards 1, 2 and 5 are below the target number — 1 and 2 by a considerable amount. The other five wards are all above optimum, with Wards 3, 6 and 8 over by the largest amounts.
Essentyne told the council that his Option A was most like the current plan but pointed out that all three options contained changes from the current map because the Census Bureau changed how it designated census blocks.
At the council’s September meeting, Town Manager Troy Lewis said the town disagreed with the count that showed a decline in Tarboro’s population and indicated the town would challenge those numbers.
But Essentyne pointed out Monday that while a challenge might occur, the redistricting must be conducted using the census data provided.
The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed options and then discuss and vote on the preferred plan.
Hurley explained to the council that by following those steps at the November meeting they would meet the Nov. 17 deadline.
In other business, the council:
- Unanimously adopted a master right-of-way agreement and pole attachment agreement between the town and NfinityLink Communications Inc.
This clears the way for NfinityLink to begin the building process to prepare to provide internet, telephone and cable service to Tarboro residents.
- Unanimously approved a lease agreement with the Tarboro River Bandits for the non-exclusive use of Municipal Stadium between May 23 and Aug. 13, 2022. The rental fee of $4,350 is the same as the 2021 season.
The River Bandits are owned by Wayne and Susan Turnage of La Grange and have won their respective league championships in their first two years of existence. Head Coach Vince Fondacaro will return to lead the team in 2022 as it once again competes in the Premier Collegiate League.
- Unanimously adopted a resolution directing Town Clerk Leslie Lunsford to investigate a petition requesting the annexation of property at 106 River Oaks Dr. The request was made by TNV Capital LLC of Raleigh in regard to a planned Starbucks development.
- Unanimously adopted an ordinance declaring the closure of North Main Street between St. James Street and Pitt Street to hold the traditional New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Tarboro.
- Unanimously approved a reconciliation agreement and budget amendment pertaining to $125,991 allocated to the Town of Tarboro through the Down East Home Consortium during the years 2013 through 2016 but improperly spent by the City of Rocky Mount. Tarboro had previously withdrawn from the consortium due to a lack of funds being allocated to the town.