Columbiana Council to hold public hearing

By NICOLE LOGGINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – The Columbiana City Council will hold a public hearing on March 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Columbiana City Hall to discuss a proposed plan to redistrict the city’s five voting districts.

According to Mayor Allan Lowe, the change in districts is needed because the 2010 census indicated that some city districts now contain too many residents. Each district should contain roughly the same number of residents according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Specifically, since the Department of Justice — the agency that approves all voting district changes — considers all inmates of the Shelby County Jail as part of the city population. The census lists that number as a little over eight hundred, so that district is exceptionally higher than others in the city,” Lowe said.

Councilman Stancil Handley currently represents District 2, where the jail is located.

“For the regular census they were included in the city populations,” Handley said. “In this situation we’re trying to figure out what the correct thing to do is since their home residence is not in Shelby County but they were included in our population count.”

Handley said the city will not include the inmates in the first submitted redistricting plan.

“What we’re going to do is go ahead and submit a redistricting effort without including them and then see if it is accepted or not,” he said. “We’re not sure what (the DOJ) wants, and all we can do is submit what we think is our best effort and hope they accept it.”