County to weigh options for new districts
By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 20, 2011 1:46 PM
Wayne County commissioners are expected to approve criteria for the redrawing of voting district lines for the commission and the school board at their meeting Tuesday.
Demographer Bobby Bowers, who is handling the redistricting for the county, first outlined the criteria last week during a public meeting that attracted less than a dozen people.
The overriding directive will be to adhere to the court-ordered constitutional requirement of one person, one vote.
Other criteria will include:
* Adherence to the 1965 Voting Rights Act as amended and by controlling court
* Ensuring that parts of the districts are contiguous.
* Respecting communities of interest.
* Attempting to maintain constituent consistency (separate incumbents).
* Soliciting public input.
Bowers is familiar with the county, having worked on its past two redistrictings. He also is working on the city of Goldsboro's redistricting project.
Commissioners, following a public hearing, would approve changes in district lines. However, the U.S. Justice Department must issue pre-clearance before any changes in the lines are implemented.
Commissioners will meet in special session Wednesday at 2 p.m. to receive proposed redistricting maps from Bowers and to schedule a public hearing.
Bowers has said he does not think the process will take more than a few months and will include public meetings.
Population growth and shifts in certain areas of the county will require that three of the county's six voting districts give up residents, while the other three will need to add more people to meet the one-person, one-vote standard.
According to Census data, the county's population grew from 113,335 in 2000 to 122,623 in 2010. Most of the population growth has been in the northern part of the county.
To meet the one-person, one-vote mandate, the districts have to be roughly the same size in population. Dividing the population count of 122,623 by 6 (the number of districts) equates to 20,437 people per district.
Based on that number:
* District 1 represented by Andy Anderson would have to give up 4,169.
* District 2, one of two minority districts, represented by J.D. Evans would have to add 4,479.
* District 3, another minority district, represented by John Bell would have to add 2,891.
* District 4 represented by Steve Keen would have to give up 2,633.
* District 5 represented by Bud Gray would have to give up 2,607.
* District 6 represented by Jack Best would have to add 2,038.
In other business Tuesday, commissioners will be asked to approve the following plats:
* Terri Gooding final; owner/developer Terri Gooding; two lots on the west side of Black Creek Road just north of Aycock Church Road in Nahunta Township.
* Willie Johnson heirs final; owner/developer Willie Johnson heirs; four lots on both sides of Zion Church Road east of Camp Jubilee Road in Indian Springs Township.
* Emily Michelle Britt final; owner/developer William E. Britt et. ux. (and wife); one lot on the north side of Manley Grove Church Road in Grantham Township
* Western Wayne Estates, revised preliminary; owner/developer Bill Lane; four lots on N.C. 581 in Buck Swamp Township.
* Beaman Family final; owner/developer M.J. Beaman; seven lots at the intersection of O'Berry Road and Thunder Swamp Road in Brogden Township.
* Kathryn Edwards Jarrell final; owner/developer Lenwood Edwards; one lot on the southwest side of Perkins Road in Buck Swamp Township.
The Wayne County Planning Board has recommended approval of the plats.
Commissioners will sit as the Board of Equalization and Review at 11 a.m.
The board will be asked to adopt changes to the Wayne County ABC Board travel policy; make fire district commissioner appointments; and to approve a contract with Nunn, Brashear & Co. to prepare the county's audit.