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The Madison Record

Redistricting plan presented: Expert says each council district should 4,192 residents

By Staff
Mitch Freeman Madison County Record
Redistricting could mean changes for each of Madison's City Council districts, according to an expert hired to examine the topic.
A redistricting consultant hired by the city of Madison presented the first draft of a plan to redistrict the city during the regular April 28 council meeting.
Mike Slaughter, senior planner for Bridge &Slaughter of Oxford, Miss., presented their initial proposal to redistrict the city.
Slaughter pointed out that the high variance between the "ideal" population in each district, as compared to the actual population in each district. According to Slaughter, the current deviation between ideal and actual for district three is 31.2 percent and is 84.5 percent for district seven.
According to a demographic analysis chart prepared by Bridge &Slaughter, Madison's population in 2000 was 29,341. The ideal population in each of the seven districts is 4,192.
Slaughter said the variance between ideal and actual population should be less than 10 percent. Only district five was in that category at a 2.2 percent variance.
Slaughter said that care was taken to preserve the minority voting voice.
Next steps call for adoption of the plan by the city council, submission of the adopted plan to the justice department for review and approval, and implementation of the plan by the city.
The general council consensus was that detailed maps for each district are required for individual council member analysis. Slaughter agreed to provide the maps.
The maps will be updated to include annexations and will be made public for input from Madison residents.
As a minimum, a map is to be located at the Madison City Complex for public viewing. The council determined that the city clerk's window will be the central collection point for public input.
There was concern among council members that the eventual redistricting plan would not be implemented in time to affect the next local elections. The council must go through the process of review and adoption of the plan. Then, the justice department could take up to 60 days to decide the fate of the proposed plan. And, Madison County officials will have to pull together revised voter rolls.
"This plan will last us for the next 10 years. I want my district to be all it can be. I will not be rushed because of an election," district on council member Cynthia McCollum said.
Slaughter is expected to return to the May 12 city council meeting to collect public input.

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