Redistricting hearing to be held today
Record Managing Editor
A public hearing will be held today at 7 p.m. at the Madison Public Library with members of the Citizens of Madison discussing the topic of redistricting.
A group of local residents formed the citizens group a few months ago with the intent to offer help and information to the Madison City Council in their redistricting efforts.
The group's spokesperson, Ron Klein, presented the city council with a proposed redistricting map at its Jan. 27 meeting. The map outlines seven new districts ranging in population from 3,875 to 4,513 people per district.
Klein said the citizens group has put the proposal together as a way to get involved in the redistricting process. He called the group "A" political with information obtained by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The last redistricting was done after the 1990 census figures were made available. Mayor Jan Wells said following the growth of Madison from 1990-2000, the city grew by 98 percent during those 10 years. Since the next municipal election cycle starts one year prior to the 2004 municipal elections, the redistricting plan must be approved and in place by Aug. 2003. The city council hired the Mississippi-based consulting firm of Bridge and Slaughter to prepare the redistricting map and documentation required by state and federal law.
"It is our interest as a group of Madison residents to get involved in the redistricting efforts and have input as to the way the new lines are drawn," Klein said. "Because of the growth of Madison, some of the seven city council districts are disproportionate in citizen representation."
Several public hearings on the redistricting efforts are planned to get the communities input. According to Madison Community Department Director Bob Atallo, the new district lines have to conform to a lot of state and federal regulations and redistricting in Alabama is subject to review by the U.S. Justice Department for compliance.