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City Reveals Initial Redistricting Map

The Gainesville City Council is being asked to consider new boundary lines for all five wards based on a redistricting plan proposed by the state re-apportionment office and a Gainesville project team. City Clerk Denise Jordan and redistricting expert, Attorney Drew Whalen, presented the plan at a called Council Meeting today for a new ward map based on the 2010 Census that would evenly divide City population across the five wards.

According to the latest Census, Ward 5, represented by Mayor Ruth Bruner, showed almost no change in population while Ward 4, represented by George Wangemann, showed a 54.94 percent increase in population. Ward 1, represented by Danny Dunagan, showed a 10 percent decrease in population. Ward 2, represented by Bob Hamrick, and Ward 3, represented by Myrtle Figueras, showed a decrease of 19-20 percent.

Jordan said they asked for assistance from the State Re-apportionment office because they are the experts. “This is the kind of work we do once every 10 years while the reapportionment office does this regularly for cities and congressional districts. They are used to the Federal and State guidelines as well as the formulas and boundary lines that are used to shift population and make sure the numbers are within five percent of each other as required by law,” Jordan said.
 
The Council will discuss the proposal at their July 28 work session at 9:00am. Public Hearings will be held in the next two to three months for citizen input. The Council will be asked to approve the redistricting map through the Home Rule Ordinance which allows municipalities to amend certain sections of their charters without going through the State Legislature.

The Gainesville City School Board is also affected by the redistricting. The City staff is recommending the school districts continue to mirror the council districts to minimize voter confusion.

The redistricting project team, which has been working together for two months, includes Gainesville Planning Division Manager Matt Tate, Hall County Elections Interim Superintendent Charlotte Sosebee, City Attorney James Palmour, City Clerk Denise Jordan, Attorney Drew Whalen, City School Superintendent Merrianne Dyer and City School Grant Coordinator Christine Brosky.

The Gainesville ward map was last re-drawn and accepted by the City Council in 2002 following the 2000 Census.

For more information call City Clerk Denise Jordan at 770-535-6865.