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Decatur City Commission to consider adopting new election districts

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Decatur City Commission to consider adopting new election districts

Commissioners, pictured left to right, are: Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers, Lesa Mayer, Kelly Walsh, Mayor Patti Garrett, and George Dusenbury. Photo obtained via the city of Decatur

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission will meet on Monday, Nov. 21, for a work session at 6:30 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. The meetings will be held in person at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough Street, and Zoom.

The work session will focus on the child-friendly cities initiative.

To access the meeting, follow these instructions:

To view the agenda, click here.

This meeting will be held in-person. Members of the public wishing to participate during either the “Public Comment” or “Requests and Petitions” portions of the meeting may attend the meeting in one of two ways:

1. Attend in-person by coming to Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough St.

2. Register in advance at https://zoom.us/j/93806918203. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You may also participate by phone by calling (929) 205-6099 and entering the meeting ID (The 11-digit number shown in the Zoom registration link.)

NOTE – This meeting will utilize virtual meeting technology. We cannot guarantee it will operate as planned. If your participation must be a matter of public record, attend the meeting in person or email your comments to City Manager Andrea Arnold at [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 21st.

Members of the public may also view the live broadcast of the Decatur City Commission meeting at https://www.decaturga.com/citycommission/page/streaming-video

During the regular meeting, the city commission will hold a public hearing and consider approving the new election districts for the city. There is enough of a difference in the population of the city commission and Decatur School Board districts to require redistricting. The voting districts must meet the one person-one vote requirement, City Manager Andrea Arnold wrote in a memo.

“The concept is that districts within a political entity not be so disproportionately populated as to diminish the voting strength of any of the citizens. i.e., The voting strength of citizens in one district should not be greater than the voting strength of citizens in another district just because there are fewer people in one district enjoying the same amount of representation compared to a more populated district,” Arnold wrote in the memo.

Since redistricting is done through amending the city’s charter, the board has to take two votes to approve the changes. The city commission first adopted the districts on Nov. 7.

The city has two voting districts. The change to the districts would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

If the population deviation from the ideal district population is over 10% it means redistricting is needed. The city’s ideal district population is 12,464 and the total deviation is currently 11.41%, based on the 2020 Census.

The proposed districts have a total deviation of 0.16%, or a difference of 20 people.

“Essentially, we’re looking at extending District 2 east along the existing boundaries of East Ponce de Leon Avenue and East Howard Avenue going from North McDonough Street to North Candler Street,” Arnold said at the Nov. 7 city commission meeting. “The reduces the District 1 population by 701 people for a total of 12,474 and that increases District 2 by the same amount, and bringing District 2 up to a total of 12,454.”

The city commission will also consider establishing a project budget of $115,000 and award a contract to Solutionz, Inc. for about $113,404 for technology upgrades to the multipurpose room at the Decatur Recreation Center.

“In an effort to provide a virtual attendance option for City board and commission meetings that are too large to be held in the City Commission rooms, staff engaged with the City’s current audio-visual technology provider, Solutionz, Inc, to design a system that will allow for video teleconferencing capabilities in the multi-purpose room at the Decatur Recreation Center,” City Clerk Meredith Roark wrote in a memo.

The proposed system would add new camera equipment, touch screen control panels, wireless microphones, switches and a dedicated PC to manage the Zoom meeting platform, Roark said.

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