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Commission submits district lines
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Proposed changes to the Dawson County commission and school board districts have been sent to the state.

The county commission voted last week to submit a new district map after recent census numbers showed the local population increased by nearly 40 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Residents did not offer input on the proposal at either of the two public hearings held on the matter.

Commission Chairman Mike Berg said the proposed changes could be discussed at the state level in August, when legislators are expected to reconvene at the Capitol for a special session on state redistricting.

"I've been told by the speaker that they are actually going to take those up, the counties that are ready to go," Berg said.

County Manager Kevin Tanner said the proposed changes are minor.

"All the current board of education members and all the commissioners all reside within their same districts," he said.

Tanner said the initial plan was to shift a portion of District 2, the heaviest populated area, into District 1.

District 2 encompasses the Hwy. 136 area, from Ga. 400 to the Lumpkin County line, while District 1 includes the Dawson County portion of Big Canoe and surrounding area.

"But because the population in District 2 was much higher than any other district, that was not possible," Tanner said. "We ended up needing to change all the districts to make it work."

Berg said redistricting would have little to no impact on county residents, since commission seats are elected countywide.

Redistricting, however, could affect residents planning to run for office.

If the General Assembly chooses to take up county commission districts in August, it would be passed as local legislation and then submitted to the Department of Justice for review.