published Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Hamilton County planning to reshape districts


by Dan Whisenhunt

DISTRICT POPULATIONS

Current population for the 9 Hamilton County Commission districts:

District 1: 39,540

District 2: 37,111

District 3: 36,411

District 4: 34,261

District 5: 33,358

District 6: 34,312

District 7: 40,838

District 8: 36,111

District 9: 44,522

Source: U.S. Census

Hamilton County Commission Chairman Larry Henry said Tuesday that commissioners next week will begin redrawing the boundaries of the commission’s nine districts using the latest census figures.

He said Commissioner Fred Skillern will meet next week with one other commissioner to take the first steps. One of the commission’s two Democrats, Greg Beck or Warren Mackey, likely will be the third committee member, he said.

A date has not been set for the meeting.

“It’ll just be a preliminary meeting,” Henry said. “I wouldn’t have a problem with the public being there.”

Governments at every level, from Congress to the City Council, redraw district lines after every decennial census to ensure proportional representation.

The new County Commission and school board lines will reflect population growth or shifts in the districts.

Henry said Districts 1 and 9, represented by Skillern and Commissioner Chester Bankston, respectively, have the largest geographic areas. He predicted their district lines will move farther north.

Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, Hamilton County administrator of elections, said the deadline to draw up new districts is Jan. 1, 2012. The County Commission must approve new district boundaries.

Staff writer Andy Johns contributed to this story.

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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