Calhoun County Commission approves new district lines
by Brian Anderson
Oct 25, 2013 | 3064 views |  0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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The Calhoun County Commission on Thursday approved new commission district boundaries ahead of the 2014 elections.

The approved changes include a large portion of District 5 in the northern part of the county, currently represented by Rudy Abbott, moving to District 2 along the east side of the county, currently represented by Tim Hodges. District 1, represented by Fred Wilson and covering most of Anniston and communities to the west of the city, will grab some portions of District 2 in eastern Anniston neighborhoods near Golden Springs.

The proposed maps and potential polling place changes were presented at a public meeting on Tuesday.

“Sometimes you want to make sure the community is involved even if you don’t have to,” said County Administrator Ken Joiner. “This is the most important thing we do in a 10-year period.”

The redistricting process took more than a year to complete, and it began before the U.S. Supreme Court changed the process for many parts of the country. The court struck down a provision of the Voting Rights Act that required many areas — including Calhoun County — to submit redistricting plans to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval.

One of the biggest challenges in redrawing district lines, Joiner said, was keeping the integrity of the minority majority district in Calhoun County. While District 1 actually had its minority population increase with the current redistricting, Joiner said it’ll be harder in the future to keep a district in the county with 60 percent minority population due to population shifts.

“It’s something that in maybe 10 or 20 years we’ll need a seven-member County Commission,” Joiner said.

In other business, the commission:

— Approved two grant agreements totaling $680,000 from the Alabama Department of Youth Services. The money will fund Success Academy, which provides academics to at-risk students ages 13 to 18, and the Robert E. Lewis Academy, a male residential facility for at-risk students run by Coosa Valley Youth Services.

— Approved a contract with Children’s Services for $30,380 for funding of the Parris Home Residential Treatment facility in Anniston.

— Approved a contract with Calhoun/Cleburne Children’s Center for $36,679 to use for matching grant funds.

— Approved a contract with East Central Alabama Young Marines for $1,000 to buy equipment and training materials for its program.

— Approved a contract with the Longleaf Arts Council for $2,500 to pay for the Music Fest at Zinn Park on Oct. 25.

— Approved a contract with Empty Stocking for $1,000. Empty Stocking is a nonprofit organization that provides children in foster care with Christmas presents.

— Approved a contract with Webster’s Chapel Tornado Relief Fund for $10,000.

— Appointed County Engineer Brian Rosenbalm to serve on the Economic Development Council. Rosenbalm replaces Joiner, who served on the council for 24 years.

— Awarded bids to Minnesota-based Pro-Tainer for purchase of mesh trailers and hydraulic dump recycling trailers for the Recycling Office. The mesh trailers cost $6,945 each and the hydraulic dump recycling trailers cost $10,999 each.

— Added two net guns from Animal Control to the county surplus items.

— Passed abatement resolutions for properties on 162 Gardendale Drive, 850 Anniston Beach Road, 125 1st St. and 217 Tillman Ave. in Anniston.

— Declared nuisance abatements at 400 Stebbins St., 427 Russell Ave., 4502 Bryan Ave., 11 North Ave. and 605 Deyo St. in Anniston and 0 Weaver Cedar Springs Rd. in Weaver.

Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

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