New supe districts coming next year
Madison County will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Jan. 25 on the county’s redistricting plan to allow public input on the process.
Madison County is in the early stages of redistricting that will change county districts for supervisors, election commissioners, justice court judges and constables to conform with population shifts reflected in the 2021 United States Census.
Saying they would like to be as transparent as possible, Madison County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to hold a public hearing on the redistricting process at 6 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Madison County Board of Supervisor’s boardroom to allow citizen input on the process.
Laws no longer require public hearings on the redistricting process, said Tommie Cardin, a government relations specialist with more than 23 years of experience with the Butler Snow law firm, advising the county on redistricting.
District 2 Supervisor Trey Baxter suggested holding the public hearing, saying he would like the process to be as transparent as possible and that he had a lot of questions since it is his first time to go through redistricting. Baxter said he is sure others have questions too.
Baxter suggested posting proposed supervisor lines two weeks before the public hearing.
“The public will have at least 14 days if not longer to study the lines,” Baxter said, “come to the public hearing, and either have written questions put in or comments verbally by coming and taking part in the public hearing.”
Cardin said the law no longer requires public hearings on redistricting.
“Public hearings are not required, but we do recommend that,” Cardin said. “It is a very good thing to go ahead and have a public hearing because the purpose of the public hearing is to receive input from the public about the redistricting process about what the public would like for you to hear. In terms of the decisions, you’ll have to make and redrawing the lines.”
Cardin suggested that representatives from the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District, who are drawing the district lines, be included in the public hearing.
“We would conduct a public hearing,” Cardin said. “You would be here. You would call it order. It would be an open meeting. We would conduct a public hearing. We would provide the benchmark plan. We would provide the census numbers. We would go over those.”
Cardin said comments should have a time limit, but any member of the public could say anything they wanted about the redistricting process and submit written materials.
“We would recommend that you have this as a standalone public hearing so that the sole focus would be for redistricting and nothing else,” Cardin said. “Do it at a time in the evening that would allow people who may be working during the day to come and attend the hearing. So we would suggest that you start at around 5:30 or 6 in the evening, whatever works better, and that you also leave the record for the public hearing open for a week afterward to allow the public to make any additional submissions or submissions.”
Cardin recommended the public hearing be at 5:30 or 6 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Madison County Supervisors Boardroom.
District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen made a motion to hold the public hearing at 6 p.m. Jan. 25 in the boardroom with members of the CMPDD. His motion passed unanimously.