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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Public can speak on city council wards

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shelbyville residents will have their chance to speak their mind about the city's new wards during a public hearing set for Thursday.

The hearing will start at 6 p.m. in the courtroom at Shelbyville police headquarters.

Since November, the city council has been examining the layout of Shelbyville's council representation, which must be reviewed and adjusted every 10 years if necessary based on population growth.

But so far, city officials tell the T-G that no citizens have made any comments -- either positive or negative -- about how the city's wards are organized. Also, no changes have yet to be suggested for the new map by any council members.

"Zero sum"

The changes are based on new U.S. Census figures and are made due to the famous 1964 Supreme Court case that established the "one man, one vote" rule.

The 2010 Census stated that Shelbyville has a population of 20,335, meaning that approximately 3,400 people will be assigned to each of the city's six wards.

The council was told in November by city manager Jay Johnson that the census figures have to be used "by tract" -- the census' definition of a neighborhood, stressing that the tracts cannot be divided.

The version of the map was drafted by Johnson, city recorder Vickie Haskins and city planner Ed Dodson and a member of the South Central Tennessee Development District, using their Global Information System (GIS).

Council members could have made any changes to the map they wished over the past few months, and have already passed the first two readings on an ordinance to adopt them. That, including the required public hearing, happens Thursday night.

Johnson explained last fall that the wards have to be laid out in a "zero sum game," meaning the council didn't have a lot of room to move large numbers of citizens between the areas.

Changes

News census data showed that wards 4 and 6 had the most growth over the last 10 years, so it will be their areas that will have to give up territory, while other wards would need to expand to make everything even.

The process must be finished before April so that the county's election commission can have time to have the new boundaries formerly established in time for this year's city election for Wards 1, 3 and 5, which have some boosts in population.

The new map shows Ward 5 moving two blocks north to Kingwood Avenue from its previous boundary on Scotland Heights. According to law, each of the wards have to contain between a minimum of 3,230 and a maximum 3,570 persons, which can be varied five percent high or low.