The committee passed a motion, made by 7th District Commissioner Bill Winters, to discuss a motion made by 5th District Commissioner Jeff Yarber at the next meeting, and receive input from GIS Director Wayne Owenby and the Bradley County Election Commission.
The motion passed 7-1. Owenby said commissioners could meet with him individually to discuss how and where the lines could be redrawn. The state recommends redrawing the lines following a street, according to Owenby. Meeting with the GIS director will allow commissioners to focus on their district before bringing ideas to the committee.
Yarber had made a motion that “ ... we leave the 3rd District alone, we allow the 5th and the 6th to make their almost equal (trade). The 6th has to give up 450-something and the 5th needs 490, so it would be an almost even swap ... (then) we move the 400 from the 4th into the 2nd.”
The motion also said populations would be shifted from the 1st and 2nd Districts to give the 7th District the needed population.
One way to do this might be to shift some from the 2nd to the 1st and then shift others to the 7th District, according to Yarber.
“That being done you have four districts basically taken out,” Yarber said.
Guidelines and requirements for redistricting are handed down to counties from the state. At a previous meeting, Owenby said the perfect scenario would be 13,148 people per district. State law does allow for deviation from this number. As a county, there can be a 10 percent difference between the optimum population per district and the actual population per district. Bradley County currently has 13 percent deviation. This number is reached by combining all the positive and negative percentages of deviation per district.
According to information previously presented to the Commission, the 7th District is the furthest from the optimal population. Many districts have more than the needed population, while the 5th and the 7th District are below that number.
During the discussion, committee chairman and 1st District Commissioner Ed Elkins presented the number of people who would need to be shifted for getting each district to the optimal population.
“What you want to do with this is affect as few districts as possible,” Yarber said.
Fourth District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe said he had been contacted by individuals on the border of his district saying they do not want to be shifted to another district.
The redistricting committee will meet again after the Sept. 19 meeting of the Bradley County Commission. The redistricting committee is made up of one commissioner from each district. New lines must be determined by Jan. 1. State law requires that redistricting be completed every 10 years.