City working on new district plan

Published 11:24 am Monday, January 14, 2013

The Atmore City Council held a special workshop meeting Friday morning to work toward determining how city districts will be realigned following the 2010 Census and prior to the next municipal elections.

Although new lines have not yet been drawn, council members met with Diane Burnett of the Gulf Coast Regional Planning Committee, who gave the council a glimpse at what the new districts may look like.

Burnett said the expected changes will drop the total population from 9,411 to 7,176 due to a proposed move that will leave out the 2,350 institutionalized residents at Holman and Fountain prisons, who are unable to vote.

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Proposed changes to various city districts are also in the works, but are relatively small shifts along the map.

A proposed move of 21 residents from current District 3 into District 2 will impact people living in area of Ballard Street. Another shift will likely move a total of 10 residents in the area of Airport Road into District 1. A number of residents on the north side of McRae Street will also likely be moved into District 1 and  another proposed move would shift residents in the current District 5 area near Muskogee Metalworks into District 3.

Burnett said all of the realignments are done using census information that must be reported to the United States Department of Justice. Any of the proposed moves that will be made final, she said, will be analyzed by the Justice Department, who will then send notices to the affected residents.

Mayor Jim Staff said it did not appear as if any of the proposed changes would impact polling places, but spoke briefly with the council about the possibility of creating a centralized polling place located at Atmore City Hall, in order to cut down on confusion and allow all residents to vote in one place.

Finalization of the proposed moves is expected in the next few weeks.