NYC Districting Commission to host public hearing on City Council district maps in Queens

york college
Photo courtesy of York College

The NYC Districting Commission, which will redraw a new City Council map, will hold its first public hearing Monday, June 27, at York College located at 94-20 Guy Brewer Blvd. in Jamaica from 4 to 7 p.m.

This meeting kicks off the public comment portion where community members are able to voice their opinions on the new council districts. The New York City Council is a co-equal branch of the local government, with power over the city’s $101 billion budget. 

As the U.S. Constitution requires a census of the population every 10 years, new federal, state and local legislative districts across the country are redrawn thereafter. The city’s population grew from 8.2 million people in 2010 to 8.8 million people in 2020. 

The commission must draw new maps that will accurately represent the growing population in New York City — specifically Hispanic and Asian populations which grew by over 100,000 and 300,000, respectively. 

Queens County has an estimated population of 2,331,143 as of July 1, 2021. The population decreased by 3.1% from April 1, 2020, to 2021. The largest portion of the Queens population is white, with 47.8%; meanwhile, 20.7% of residents are Black or African American, 26.9% are Asian and 28.2% are Hispanic or Latino. 

Members of the commission are appointed by the mayor and City Council. The 15-member commission is meant to reflect the geographic and ethnic diversity of New York City. Five of the commissioners were appointed by the City Council’s Majority Caucus; three were appointed by the City Council’s Minority Caucus; and Mayor Eric Adams appointed the remaining seven members.

Dennis M. Walcott, the chair of the commission, who serves as president and CEO of Queens Public Library, said that he believes the commission is a fair representation of the city and Queens. 

“The people who are part of the commission are sympathetic to the variety of issues that are required to take a look at the future of the mapping process,” Walcott said. “We have an excellent group of individuals who are experienced and definitely full of knowledge and interested in doing the right thing.”

The commission will vote on a plan approximately July 18, which will kickstart another round of public hearings in each of the five boroughs until a second vote is taken and a final plan is submitted to the City Council in September before the 2023 elections. 

Anyone wishing to submit testimony on the council maps can write to the commission at [email protected].