Redistricting public hearing informs small crowd

One citizen came before city officials to address concerns about Ward 2 representation / Sarah Bleau

The city of Albany is giving citizens an opportunity to get informed and share opinions with city officials about the proposed new district lines for Albany's six wards.

In the proposed redistricting plan, Wards 2, 3 and 5 are changing because of a change in population from the 2010 Census numbers; Wards 2 and 3 lost population and Ward 5's population grew. The new district lines must allow the six wards to have a population that is within a five percent deviation of the ideal district population, which is 12,906.

Smith says he wasn't disappointed in the low turnout at Tuesday's public hearing, but wishes there were more citizens attending the information sessions.

"It becomes very important for those who are trying to get the vote. This is really a political process. So that's going to become important, and even neighborhoods may want to be in one particular ward or another they see themselves as fitting in better. Knowledge is power here, and you can work better with your commissioners at that point in time or the commission itself," says Smith.

The next public hearing is October 13 at Albany State University at 10 a.m. at Orine Hall. Comments are recorded so they may be discusses at a later date.

Smith says no adjustments will be made to the current proposal until after November's election when a mayor and commissioners are elected. He says the city would like to have the new lines ready in time for the November 2012 election.

Any questions about redistricting in Albany can be directed to Smith at (229) 431-3234 or City Attorney Nathan Davis at (229) 431-2805.

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