Some County Commission Members Open To Having More Than 9 Districts

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Some County Commission members said Wednesday they are "open" to having more than the current nine districts.

Commissioner Warren Mackey said he favors going as high as 15 districts.

On the other hand, Commissioner Tim Boyd said expanding the districts "would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars that we don't have. Right now everything is working fine."

He noted that adding new County Commission seats would mean corresponding new School Board members as well.

The commission met for the first time to discuss the redistricting process. Sabrena Smedley, commission chair, said all meetings will be in the open.

She said she is "very open" to considering more districts, citing "all the growth we are getting. People are moving here from all over - California, you name it. I don't see that trend changing anytime soon."

She asked at the next redistricting meeting the commission get a map "that shows what 13 districts would look like."

However, Commissioner Chip Baker said, "We are having growth, but it's not Nashville growth. It's not out of control."

Officials said in the last decade the population of Hamilton County rose eight percent from around 331,000 to around 360,000.

County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said commissioners in drafting new districts "are not to project the growth for the next 10 years."

Commissioner Greg Martin said he is among those open to expanding the commission. He said the panel needs to make a decision on that issue so it then can get on to drawing the new lines.

Jason Shaneyfelt of county GIS said he would not be meeting with individual commissioners on redrawing lines, but it would all be handled in open commission sessions. He said when he drafts a new map that he would wait to make it public before showing it at the next commission meeting.

Commissioner Katherlyn Geter said she would rather that the maps be made public as soon as they are drafted, saying that would give the commissioners and the public time to study them prior to the next meeting.

 

 


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