City of Lufkin hires law firm to help with Census review

City of Lufkin hires law firm to help with Census review

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The 2020 Census count recently ended but there is still work to be done. The City of Lufkin has hired a law firm to help with the 2020 census review.

Ten years ago the City of Lufkin was able to do the review in-house.

"We had our former city manager, Keith Wright, was actually able to draw the lines using our data here,'' said Assistant City Manager Jason Arnold. “And then our city attorney at the time, who is now our city manager, Bruce Green, was able to make that argument to the Department of Justice and get everything pushed through.”

This year, however, Arnold said, they do not have the time to put forth to get the review complete, so they have contracted with Allison, Bass & Magee LLP to help.

“We’re early into the budget year and to a very difficult budget year. You know, there’s been a fair amount of changing and transitioning involved with our former city manager leaving and Bruce taking over,” Arnold said. “Just really doing some re-focusing and getting into the weeds of our day-to-day here and making sure that we’re doing everything as efficiently as we can.”

Arnold said there could be up to two phases of work that gets done, each phase costing just short of 11 thousand dollars. He says the city knew the Census was coming and budgeted for the added expense.

“You’re looking at, at least two or three months' worth of just making sure that all the numbers and everything works out with the current boundaries,” Arnold said. “If they do, the work will end there for the most part. But if it doesn’t then you get into redrawing those lines and that’s very, very intensive.”

Arnold says it’s an objective process and the city will still have a say in the final product.

“When it’s all said and done, we would have to make our case to the Department of Justice says this is where we want our lines. We feel this is fair, we feel this is accurate, we feel this meets the requirements set forth by state and federal standards,” Arnold said.

The next few months will be dedicated to the law firm checking and running numbers. Then bringing a plan back to the city to see if it’s ready to be approved and sent off.

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