ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany city manager's office presented City Commissioners with two possible redistricting maps to consider Tuesday as the redistricting process begins at the municipal level.
Now that the 2010 census numbers have been made public, city and county as well as school board officials have begun the process of redrawing their various district lines.
Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said Monday that the county and the Dougherty School Board would be forming a joint redistricting committee to draw up favorable districts for both boards.
The cooperative effort between the School Board and County Commission is a product of convenience as both boards have the same district maps, although they are numbered differently.
The city of Albany, however, has its own districts or wards, and redistricting has to be done separately.
According to city officials, the goal is to draw the districts so that they have as close to 12,906 people each as possible and meet the criteria set forth in the Voting Rights Act.
As it currently stands, Wards II, III and V had the most significant changes among the city's seven political districts.
Ward V grew by 2,640 people, while Wards II and III saw reductions in population by 1,887 and 1,077, respectively.
To avoid redistricting, City Attorney Nathan Davis told the commission that the deviation between the 2000 numbers and the 2010 numbers had to be below 5 percent.
Wards I, IV and VI all fell below that threshold.
Under the first plan mapped out Tuesday, Ward III would add more than 1,100 people by cutting into portions of Ward IV and V. Ward II would grow by more than 1,400 people, largely cutting a chunk out of Ward III.
The rest of the map is generally the same.
Under the second plan, Ward III would increase by 1,500 people by extending north into what is currently Ward V. Ward II would grow by more than 1,400 people by extending into what is now portions of Ward III.
Whichever plan the commission chooses, most on the board Tuesday seemed to like the idea of having several hearings to explain the proposed changes to the public.
"I don't think this is something that needs to happen without having a series of public hearings," Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard said.
One facet of the process that will make things easier for the commission is the fact that all three of the seats that are up for election this year, Wards I, IV and VI, each is within the deviation limits and won't force the city to redraw the lines before qualifying.
Albany Plan 1 Map - Lge Scale
Albany Plan 2 Map - Lge Scale