By GALEN HOLLEY
The Grenada County Board of Supervisors is pleased with the work of the new firm it hired, according to one member, and it’s on pace to finish redistricting soon.
“Things went really well today,” said District Four Supervisor Darrell Robinson, just after finishing a work session on Thursday.
The supervisors met with representatives from Slaughter and Associates Urban Planning Consultants in Oxford.
“Today was basically an overview, but I feel confident that we’ll have things done sometime shortly after Christmas,” said Robinson.
Earlier this month the supervisors ended their year-long relationship with the Stennis Institute at Mississippi State University because they said the maps the institute provided didn’t come in a timely manner and weren’t accurate.
When the U.S. Census is conducted every 10 years, counties are required to reassess their district boundaries.
The 2010 Census showed that Grenada County had some rearranging to do, according to District Two Supervisor and Board President Chad Bridges.
A county with the minority population of Grenada is required to have two super majority black districts.
According to the 2010 Census, there are 16,515 people of voting age in Grenada County. Forty-two percent of Grenada County residents are black.
Redrawing district lines isn’t an easy job, Bridges said, partly because county road mileage has to be taken into consideration. The five supervisors are all given the same amount of money to maintain roads, even though they each may have a different amount of road mileage.
“Ideally we start by dividing the total population of the county by five, but that’s just a starting point,” said Slaughter.
Redistricting is required when the actual population deviates from the ideal population by more than 10 percent.
Bridges said that lots of new construction is taking place in Supervisor Michael Lott’s District One. Therefore Lott is gaining population, while it appears that Supervisor Columbus Hankins’s District Three is losing some population.
As part of his firm’s services, Slaughter said, once the work is finished and the maps are drawn, he will prepare a package to be submitted to the Department of Justice, including legal descriptions, known as Section 5 Preclearance. Approval normally takes 60 days.