County redistricting begins; changes may affect Madison
Record Managing Editor
Countywide redistricting may financially affect the city of Madison.
As required by law, redistricting efforts in Madison County are now under way. Following the growth of Madison County from 1990-2000, the county has grown to a population of more than 281,931 residents. The residential makeup of Madison County has changed significantly during the past 12 years. The last redistricting was done after the 1990 census figures were made available to go into effect with the governing body.
District 2 Commissioner Faye Dyer, whose current district includes a large portion of the city of Madison, said a proposed redistricting map could show her losing a significant portion of Madison to Commissioner Dale Strong. Her district would include a larger section of the city of Huntsville now being served by District 6 Commission Dr. Prince Preyer. At the Dec. 9 meeting of the Madison City Council, which Dyer attended, Dyer said in the process of redistricting, the city council should lobby the commission to keep the division of Madison as is.
"I would best benefit the city of Madison if the district lines are not changed from its present boundaries," Dyer said. "I give a significant amount of money to the city of Madison each year, as I do in Huntsville, and I have developed a good working relationship with the governing body in Madison and the residents I serve. I don't want that to change."
Dyer said redistricting is simply dividing the county into six equal districts. Each district can't be more or less than five percent of one-sixth of the county's population. At the present time, two-thirds of Dyer's district is located in the city of Huntsville with one-third devoted to Madison. Even though there is several ways the city can pursue the redistricting efforts, Dyer said redistricting Madison County would be an in-house operation between the counties attorney and the county engineer. The commissioner said computer software would be used to help in those efforts. The districts also have to conform to several state and federal regulations.
"Even though redistricting may not be a big issue with many, this is a very important process we're having to go through," Dyer said. "I encourage the governing body of Madison, Madison residents, and everyone to voice his comments regarding the issue."
In looking at Madison County today, a lot of residential development is under way in the western part of the county – particularly in the Harvest and Monrovia areas north of Madison and in the city of Madison itself off County Line Road. Residential growth is also occurring in northeast Madison County from Huntsville toward New Market.
The redistricting of Madison County will be completed by April 2004.
"The quicker we get this done, the better," Dyer said.