VOL. 127 | NO. 113 | Monday, June 11, 2012
Commission Tries Again at Redistricting
By Bill Dries
Shelby County Commissioners will see if they have all 13 commissioners present before they see if there are nine votes to pass a redistricting plan.
Third and final reading of a redistricting ordinance is on the commission’s agenda for Monday, June 11. The commission meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Vasco Smith County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St.
The presence of two commissioners at the Monday meeting was in question during committee sessions last week.
If all 13 commissioners aren’t present, the third and final reading is expected to be postponed to the second commission meeting of June.
Commissioners are making a fourth try at redistricting five months after the new set of district lines was due under state law. Some hope to avoid a Chancery Court decision on the matter that could void a part of the Shelby County charter.
It’s the part of the charter that requires a nine-vote, two-thirds majority to pass an ordinance on third reading. The first two readings only required a simple majority of seven votes.
The commission, in the first three tries at a redistricting plan, was unable to get nine votes for any plan on final reading.
The court challenge asks Chancellor Arnold Goldin to either select a redistricting plan for the commission or rule that a plan that got seven votes is the one that passed because state law does not require more than a simple majority to give final approval to a redistricting plan.
Some commissioners would like to see Goldin approve the plan that has consistently garnered the most votes. But they don’t want to see Goldin do that if it means voiding a part of the county charter because it conflicts with state law.
The specific redistricting plan on Monday’s agenda would convert the commission from its current four multi-member districts and one single-member district to a set of 13 single-member districts. The proposal garnered eight votes on second reading last month.
But there has been no debate about the actual plan in this fourth attempt at redistricting.
Also on the commission agenda is a resolution for $20 million to renovate the county administration building and approve a contract for the renovation with EMJ Corp.
The agenda includes five resolutions totaling $1.7 million for inmate clothing and food for the Shelby County Corrections Division. The resolutions include an additional $295,000 in uniform and food purchases for county government from county general funds.
Three other resolutions total $1.76 million for office supplies, toner cartridges and disposable paper and plastic products.
The commission will also consider approval of a commercial mixed-use district at the southwest corner of East Holmes and Riverdale roads and a recreational field for Briarcrest Christian School System Inc. at Houston Levee Road and Walnut Grove Road.