Tuesday, February 8, 2022

DeKalb BOC revises commission districts, sends to General Assembly for approval

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday in support of proposed new maps for the county's seven commission districts. 

The maps, which retain the existing structure of five commission districts (1-5) and two superdistricts (6 and 7), are based on preliminary maps that were unanimously approved by the BOC on Dec. 21 and sent to the General Assembly's Legislative & Congressional Reapportionment Office for review.

Districts 1-5
Districts 6,7

"The office proposed some minor changes to the map that brought deviation, which is the variance between the population of each district, down well under 2 percent," Commissioner Jeff Rader said before the vote. He said the legislative reapportionment office "was able to rectify some issues related to split precincts as well as rationalize boundaries along clear physical features such as roads and creeks."

The resolution approved by the BOC asks "that the DeKalb County Delegation to the General Assembly ... introduce ... local legislation implementing" the redistricting plan. The full text of the resolution can be found here: https://bit.ly/3Lj2hlW

During the public comment section of the meeting, Mary Hinkel, speaking for the DeKalb Citizens Advocacy Council, called the maps "the best option for Dekalb right now." 

"It is too late in the process for making drastic changes to the governing structure of the county. A charter review would be the best way forward to transparently and carefully consider how to improve the governance of DeKalb," Hinkel said.

State Sen. Emanuel Jones has floated a proposal that would have eliminated the county's superdistricts, but a Jan. 28 opinion from the General Assembly's Office of Legislative Counsel said such a redistricting would require a referendum of DeKalb County voters that could not take place this year. A copy of the opinion, which was requested by State Rep. Viola Davis, can be found here: https://bit.ly/34DRbqG