Shelby County Fiscal Court Magistrates hear realignment proposal

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Lines re-drawn at census time

By Lisa King

Some voters in the 2012 election might be casting their ballots in a different district.

That was the report to Shelby County Fiscal Court Tuesday by a committee whose job was to redefine magisterial districts, a process that is undertaken every 10 years with the new census information.

The committee submitted its recommendations to the fiscal court Tuesday, and magistrates have 60 days to review it.

Committee member Tony Harover, who made the presentation to the court, said that the 2000 census had Shelby County with a population of 33,337, and an average of about 4,700 people in each of magisterial districts. The 2010 population count was up to 42,074, an increase of 8,737, which means there should now be an average of about 6,000 people in each district, he said.

“District two in the western end of the county has the highest population, and the lowest is in district five, which is in the central eastern part of the county,” he said. “The largest population growth has been in the western part of the county since 2000.”

Harover said that Kentucky Revised Statutes mandates how many people have to be in each district.

“The minimum threshold we have to meet is 5,710 people per district, and we can’t exceed 6,311,” he said.

Harover said that in redefining magisterial lines, it has to be done in a certain manner.

“You just can’t take people from district two on the western side of the county and throw them over into district five on the far eastern end of the county, because they’re not even connected,” he said. “So we basically had to move the lines toward the west to be able to add population to the east.”

In a nutshell, he said, the changes were the greatest for only two districts.

“District two had to lose about twelve hundred or thirteen hundred and district five had to add thirteen hundred or fourteen hundred,” he said. “So area-wise, district two shrunk and district five grew, and the rest didn’t change that much.”

Shelby County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger said he wanted to stress that the recommendation from the three-person committee, which also includes Allen Zarling and Mitch McClain, is not set in stone.

“I just want to make sure that everyone knows that this is just a recommendation, and that the fiscal court can, and did, tweak it last time,” he said. “That’s just because one magistrate thought one road was more closely associated with his district and another magistrate thought another road was more closely associated with his. So we will take no action on this today; they’re just providing us with their report today, and then we will review it.”


Courthouse repairs

Rothenburger had suggested that the fiscal court take out a low-interest loan for $150,000 to get the courthouse repaired, instead of taking the money out of the budget, because that way, they could take their time paying it back, and not have to risk putting the county budget in a bind, he said. But magistrate Tony Carriss, and the rest agreed, that he would rather not have the county incur any debt in the matter if it could be avoided. He made the motion to pay for the repairs out of the county’s surplus fund, which received unanimous approval.


Communication Tower

Originally, the courthouse repairs and the cost of purchasing a communications tower for the county were included in one agenda item, as the original intent was to try to borrow $500,000 to take care of both with one loan. But Deputy County Judge-Executive Rusty Newtown said the county ended up receiving a Homeland Security Grant that will pay for the entire purchase of a new tower to be put on Jeptha Knob, and have the old tower additions moved to the new location.


Also at the meeting, magistrates approved:

• Giving $500 to the Simpsonville Fall Festival.

• Giving $2,500 for the Long Run Massacre Re-enactment.

• Declaring two county vehicles as surplus property so they could be sold.