Members of the Cooke County Commissioners Court on Monday, June 10, agreed to hire an Austin-based law firm to help with precinct redistricting.
They unanimously approved a contract with Allison, Bass & Magee LLP for $25,000, which will be paid in three installments, according to County Judge Jason Brinkley. The first payment of $5,000 is due no later than Oct. 31.
The law firm specializes in county government and handles a lot of redistricting, county officials said.
Every 10 years, a population census is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency. The 2020 Census is expected to be released in early 2021.
Brinkley said the law firm would work on the redistricting of commissioner precincts and voting districts “since it impacts the governing bodies that impose taxes.”
Commissioner precincts can only be redrawn every 10 years after each census, he said.
Brinkley said the four precincts have to be as close to equal in population as possible.
The county will pay for the services from a redistricting line funded in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, he said.
Brinkley said he knows the county has used the firm for redistricting its past two times.
“It would cost us considerably more to switch,” Brinkley said of changing firms.
Cooke County Precinct Four Commissioner Leon Klement said it would be “foolish” to switch firms.
“They got a history with us,” Klement said.