published Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Cleveland, Tenn., committees to redraw local government lines

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The next step for local governments after the 2010 U.S. census is about to begin: Redrawing the lines that determine the districts of the Bradley County Commission, the Cleveland City Council and county and city school boards.

Political boundaries for federal, state and local governments are redrawn every 10 years after a national census.

On Monday, County Commission Chairman Louie Alford appointed one county commissioner from each of the seven districts, along with county Elections Director Fran Green and county Geographic Information System Director Wayne Owenby, to a redistricting committee.

GIS is the computer mapping system local governments use to store and display map data.

Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said Tuesday that he intends "to appoint the five council members who represent a district along with Ms. Green and someone from GIS, on Monday."

Two other council members are elected at-large by all city voters.

Counties are required to draw their district lines by Jan. 1, 2012, Owenby told county commissioners recently after attending a state workshop.

A handbook for 2011 redistricting from the Tennessee Comptroller's Office reminds local government officials that "throughout the decade, population shifts within a county may result in unequal population among the various districts."

The goal, Owenby told commissioners, is to be within 10 percent of equal representation in Bradley's seven districts.

"Overall, we are at 12 percent," he said.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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