Thursday, March 31, 2011
New district lines coming
By SUE WATSON
The Mississippi Legislature has roughed out its redistricting plan required by Congress after every 10-year U.S. Census.
County consultant Gary Anderson reported to the Marshall County Board of Supervisors on activities at the state capitol, including how district boundaries may change in Marshall County.
“Three members of the House will still represent Marshall County,” he said. “Tommy Woods may have picked up some homes over at Mt. Pleasant. Jack Gadd’s district changed, too. Each legislative district changed a little. Kelvin Buck’s moved over more into the Ashland area and also extends to Tate County a little near Mattie B’s (restaurant).”
Sen. Doug Davis’ district has extended out of DeSoto County into Marshall County in the Barton area, Anderson said.
Sen. Bill Stone said according to one plan, he would lose Barton, Cayce, Mt. Pleasant and North Cayce, but pick up two precincts in Tippah County and three or four in Union County. That shift makes it possible for Senator Davis to extend his district over into the northwestern corner of Marshall County.
Supervisors asked if the county has a large enough population to create another justice court judge and constable post.
Board attorney Kent Smith said the county is supposed to have a third district but the county is not funding it.
“We are not mandated to do it at this time,” he said. “We are not required to implement it yet.”
Anderson said the redistricting process can be painful or smooth. There is a population loss in the Delta and a population gain in DeSoto County, he said.
Some other measures Anderson said the Legislature is working on include:
• Legislators are going through the appropriations calendar. Junior colleges had $15 million more put in the budget, the fight led by Sen. Jack Gordon.
• Sales tax collections are up. The Legislature will wait until the third or fourth week in March to see where the state is financially before bringing out appropriation bills, Anderson said.
• funding for the Homestead Exemption bill is yet to be settled. The House wants to fully fund it at $87 million, while the Senate wants it at $75 million. The Mississippi Association of Supervisors is backing the House bill.
• $20 million dollars have been put back in the local bridge program with a provision for $9.8 million this year, an increase from $8.8 million the prior year.
• A bond bill to cover colleges and universities, archives and history, the bridge program, etc. was to be settled in conference around March 20. The county’s request for $1.1 million to build a sewer system in the Cayce Road/Highway 72 area will be in that bill for consideration.
“The conference period is always an interesting period,” said Anderson. “You can’t go to sleep that time of year.”
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