Iberia Council delays vote on member reduction

Iberia Parish Councilman David Ditch says the 14 member council would do better with five or even seven less members.

A move to cut council members would require voter approval and redistricting. So, Ditch put forth an ordinance to hire an outside party to examine a redistricting effect on Wednesday.
“[The vote was] to actually fund the person to draw those districts, so we can get a discussion started on how we'd actually do it,” says Ditch.

Twelve council members voted to see that discussion go back to committee before the council would put forth any money.

Councilwoman Aquicline Rener-Arnold says there are still too many loose ends.

“One of the questions would be 'how many minority districts?' and 'what constitutes a minority?' and 'what minorities are actually being counted?” says Rener-Arnold.

Rener-Arnold says a possible reduction would not bode well for the four minority districts in the parish; several council members agree.
“If we were to reduce our council to nine, we lose one minority district. if we reduce it to seven, we actually lose two minority districts,” says Rener-Arnold.
Rener-Arnold says for now the council should rely on free advice.

“We should go ahead and invite someone just to give us information, maybe from other parishes that have gone through the actual process of a reduction,” says Rener-Arnold.

“Going back to committee with no funding as I said earlier in the meeting just to committee to die because we don't have any funding because we don't have any money to truly study it with an expert if we do that,” says Ditch.

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