From the mayor's desk
Mayor Jan Wells
The vigorous growth of Madison from 1990-2000 was evident in the population results found in the 2000 census data issued last year.
Madison grew by an amazing pace of 98 percent from the population level in 1990. This in turn has drastically changed the residential make up of the seven city council districts located within our city limits. For instance, District 7 is more than three times larger in population numbers than most of the other current districts. I know this keeps District 7 Councilman Bob Wagner extremely active with the many issues in his large district.
As the law requires, all of the city districts must be reapportioned to accurately reflect the population levels within the areas of the city that have developed over the past 10 years. This in turn allows for a more balanced representation on the city council within each individual council district.
Since the next municipal election cycle starts one year prior to the 2004 municipal elections, the redistricting plan must be approved in place by Aug. 2003. You may have read in the paper about the city retreat held in Guntersville a few weeks ago, where the council agreed that this issue must be pursued to reflect the best interests of the city and its residents. Therefore, I have begun the process of assembling the information necessary to begin this task.
There are several ways to complete this task, including the utilization of outside consultants who specialize in redistricting methods and techniques; in-house development of a plan utilizing commercially available software programs specific to this process; city council development; or, use of a specially appointed citizen task force to help guide the entire process to completion.
Whichever method is utilized, I believe that it is in the city's best interest to pursue the method, which offers the public an unbiased reapportionment plan based on an accurate reflection of the city population and the city boundaries.
Once complete, the reapportioned district plan should be presented to the public for their review and comments before being finalized. It is my hope that the process will be complete and the plan submitted for final approval by Jan. 1, 2003.
Resident involvement is an important part of Madison's heritage and I encourage you to become involved with your city government by contacting your city council representative to share your opinions on this and any other issue of importance to you.
I too welcome your comments and encourage you to contact me by phone or e-mail at anytime. We all appreciate your support in this important decision for Madison's future. It will help to assure a firm foundation of balanced government within the city limits for the next decade.