Board of Aldermen hold public hearing on redistricting, recognize volunteer firefighter

By Joseph McCain The Winston County Journal

The Louisville Board of Aldermen received public input on two plans for redistricting the city wards to meet the “one man, one vote” federal requirements.

Golden Triangle Planning and Development District, which is formulating the process for the city, currently has two plans for reshaping districts in order to even the amount of voters in each of the city’s 4 wards. Both plans received an almost equal amount of discussion during the hearing and in the first part of the regular board meeting following the hearing.

In order to be in compliance with the United States Department of Justice, there has to be a lower-than-10-percent deviance in the ward with the smallest amount of residents and the ward with the largest amount. As it currently stands, there is a 21.96 percent deviance between the total population in among all the wards. The ideal population number for each ward, in theory, would be 1,658 persons.

Under the two plans, the deviation is lowered to 4.28 percent under plan 1 and 4.64 percent under plan two. The main discussion for the hearing focused on the moving of persons from Ward 4 to Ward 3.

Under Plan one Population-wise, Ward 1 would have 1616 residents where it presently has 1788; Ward 2 would have 1655 where it presently has 1543; Ward 3 would have 1673 where it presently has 1468; and Ward 4 would have 1687 where it presently has 1832.

Under plan 2, Ward 1 would have 1616 residents; Ward 2 would have 1655; Ward 3 would have 1693; and Ward 4 would have 1667.

GTPDD GIS Manager Toby Sanford explained that when moving areas between wards that they did have to keep to specific census blocks Aldermen Eugene Crosby requested the plans be taken under advisement until the next meeting with the other aldermen agreeing.

Alderwoman Francis Ball and Gwenita Mays thanked Sanford and the GTPPD for their work on the plans..

In the regular board meeting following the hearing on June 5, the alderman:

• Recognized Louisville Volunteer Firefighter Dustin Pearson for receiving his Mississippi Volunteer Firefighter II NFPA 1001 qualifications. “This is a mjor accomplishment for a volunteer,” said Terry Johnson, Louisville Fire Chief. “This takes over a 140 hours of training shows true dedication to the fire service.”

•Recognized the Mayor’s Youth Council in the audience and later recognized Lindey Hill for wining Mayor’s Youth Council’s Raffle from the Red Hills Festival. The gift basket contained gift certificates and prizes from local merchants that totaled more than $450. Merchants who made donations to the raffle include: Party Hoppin Rentals, Fashion Boutique, Pink Flamingo, Luigi’s, Just Teasin Boutik, Just Teasin Salon, Zak’s, Oh So Sweet, Market Cafe, Jerry’s Florist, Jewel Shoppe, Uptown Lily, Gookin Customs and Quick Lube, Northgate Cinema and Woods Grocery. The Mayor’s Youth Council is a student volunteer program to encourage leadership skills and community involvement.

• Approve minutes from previous meeting with a correction.

• Approved Dell Coward, engineer, along with three airport board members received the city’s approval for creating turnaround at the runway in order to improve efficiency and safety. The project has been revised to just a turnaround on one ended of the runway rather than both ends due to the cost and change in the FAA’s drop in matching funds from 95 to 90 percent. The start of the project is contingent on FFA funds being received. The cost of the project is about $115,000 with $1700 cost to the city and county. The state match did pick up from 2.5 to 5 percent. So city and county have to put up 2.5 percent when use to be 1.25 percent. Project should start around August.

• Approved a paying agent for the $2 million in general obligation bonds for street repairs.

• Approved paying grant funds for work done on the city’s Trans load facility

• Noted three property owners for cleaning up properties.

• Set five hearings for unclean property.

• Postponed the utility board appointment which is a 5 year appointment until the next regular meeting.

• Gave Polo Custom products a 5 year exemption for new equipment.

• Approved South Columbus repaving completion with signage correction.

• Approved Docket of claims in the amount of $154,121.78. Aldermen Caperton voiced his concern over a bill that was submitted three years after the service was provided.

• Approved MML attendance this summer.

• Approved Alert training for one police officer.

• Approved hiring a Part time dispatcher. Police Chief L.M. Claiborne noted, “You don’t know how quickly we can become short handed when situations arise.”

• Authorized advertising for Bids on supplies.

• Noted the success of the code enforcement on cleaning up parts of the community.

The next regular meeting is set for June 19.