No one speaks at hearing on new Newnan City Council districts

By JOHN A. WINTERS
john@newnan.com
No one spoke Tuesday afternoon during the next-to-last public hearing on proposed redistricting maps that will change how Newnan City Council members are elected and what districts voters will live in.
The public hearing was held during Tuesday's regular council meeting. A final vote on the new district makeup will be held Oct. 23, when council will hold the final public hearing during its regular council meeting. The Newnan Times-Herald erroneously reported in Sunday's edition that the vote would be held Tuesday.
There are three maps under consideration. The "Butterfly Option" would create six wards with one council member from each. It is the only option that would not have council members running against each other. However, it dilutes minority voting the most and is not expected to pass federal Department of Justice approval.
Another option known as 6D would create six separate wards with one council member elected from each district. District 6 would be about 55 percent minority voting population, and District 5 would be about 48 percent minority voting population. The other four districts would be predominantly white. The city is about 35 percent minority

Under that proposal, no sitting council member currently represents what would be District 1. Council members Bob Coggin and George Alexander would be in the same district - District 5.

The third option, known as 3D, would split the city into three larger districts. Voters would vote for two council members from their district. Under that scenario, District 3 would have a minority voting population of about 52 percent. The other two would be predominantly white. Councilman Clayton Hicks would be the only sitting council member for the proposed District 1. Coggin, Alexander and council woman Cynthia Jenkins would all be in District 3.

In other action Tuesday:

• Council heard 15-minute presentations from the three finalists to design the city's new public safety complex. A committee heard "qualification statements" from 13 firms and narrowed that down to three firms.

Each of the firms have extensive experience in Georgia building not only public safety buildings, but courts, municipal and other governmental complexes. The estimated $8 million to $9 million complex will be paid for with 2013 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.

• Approved was a new contract between the city and the Coweta County School System to provide School Resource Officers for public schools within city limits. The last time the contract was amended was in 2006. The new contract is for one year.

The city would provide five officers — two at Newnan High School; one at Evans Middle School; one at the Fairmount alternative school; and one at Central Educational Center. The officers will remain city employees, but the city will pay 55 percent of their compensation and the school board the remaining 45 percent. The city will provide five vehicles for the officers’ use, and the school board will buy replacement vehicles as needed as a cost not to exceed $24,500.

• Heard an update from Rakoo School of Creative Learning and Artistic Expression Inc., which has an agreement from the city to lease part of the Howard Warner complex. Rakoo wants to use the facility for a preschool program focusing on art and music. The city and Rakoo entered into a six-month memorandum of understanding on developing the facility and creating a business plan. That agreement is now at the four-month mark.

City staff said Rakoo's accountant had not sent in a request for 501-C3 status, which meant the business has not been able to solicit funds or apply for grants. Council took that as information and discussed the possibility of extending the memorandum.

• Approved a request from White Oak Golden K Kiwanis Club to set up a kiosk on Fridays and Saturdays from Nov. 2-17, and Nov. 11 for their 18th annual pecan sale on the downtown square.

• Approved a request from Four Corners Church to close West Washington Street between Jackson Street and Brown Street from noon until 4 p.m. on Oct. 13 for a fundraising event.



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