Digging Deeper: Albany's Redistricting map - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Digging Deeper: Albany's Redistricting map

Governor Nathan Deal Thursday signed off on new redistricting maps for the Dougherty County School Board and the Dougherty County Commission.

The maps will now head to the U-S Justice Department for approval.

The City of Albany has yet to redraw the city's six wards after getting new census numbers.

Three of the city's districts are likely to see a big upheaval.

City leaders know it won't be easy, which is why they decided to take their time redrawing the six city ward lines to meet the one man, one vote requirement of redistricting. In the next several weeks they'll be looking for citizens' help.

"The whole idea of these meetings is to let the population know what's going on what the census numbers showed us, where the population shifts have been and what we have to do to get the districts back to approximately the same population in each," said Wes Smith. Albany Assistant City Manager.

Wards one, four, and six right now meet the legal requirements as they stand today, it's wards two, three, and five where major shifts will be made from the west to the east.

"We have to find a way to shift people across, which actually comes across from ward 5 into ward 2 or ward three and across to ward two and that's what we have to accomplish," said Smith.

Digging deeper city officials say where it gets difficult is keeping streets in neighborhoods that share similarities together and a lot depends on where the city commissioner lives.

"We try to have some homogeneity in the wards that they make sense and then it will affect materially who's in the ward and who can run in that ward, because that could be important too," said Smith.

Because they can't draw someone elected in November out of their district. Which is why officials have chosen to wait until the new commission is in place after January to really get into the process.

"One of the key issues will be after the election where do the successful candidates live because that materially could affect how the boundaries are set up or someone actually being in the wrong district," said Smith.

The issue right now remains the removal of the north downtown area out of Ward 3 represented by Christopher Pike into ward two. That's likely to be discussed in length at next weeks meeting.

The first public hearing on the maps is scheduled for Tuesday, September 27 at 6:00 PM in room 100 of the Government Center on Pine Avenue.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.   

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