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District lines may be shifted
Two public hearings set for next month
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Recent census numbers have officials looking at the possibility of redrawing the Dawson County commission districts.


According to Commission Chairman Mike Berg, every 10 years each county in the state has the opportunity to look at commission districts to see if they are evenly distributed.


“We did it in 2000 after the last census and now we have the opportunity to do it again in 2011,” he said.


The county saw its population increase by nearly 40 percent, or 6,326 residents, growing from 16,004 in 2000 to 22,330 in 2010.


County Manager Kevin Tanner said he anticipates a need to redraw the district lines.


“District 2 is going to have the largest population area compared to the other districts, and District 1 would have the lowest population compared to the other districts,” he said. “But there may be some required shifts in all the areas in order to make the numbers work.”


District 2 encompasses the Hwy. 136 area, from Ga. 400 to the Lumpkin County line.


District 1 is made up of the Dawson part of Big Canoe and the surrounding area.


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.


“From a residency standpoint, that’s where it could make a difference,” he said.


Two public hearings are required before the commission could vote to send local legislation to the state for approval before Aug. 15.


That’s when state legislators are expected to reconvene at the Capitol for a special session to tackle state districting hearings.


The first public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 2 during the commission’s regularly scheduled meeting.


The second hearing will be held during a special called meeting at 4 p.m. June 9.


Both will be held in the G.L. Pete Gilleland meeting room at city hall. The meetings are open to the public.