Final public hearing Tuesday on council districtsBy JOHN A. WINTERS
Newnan will hold its last public hearing Tuesday on options for new council districts, with the city council expected to vote on the final map afterward.
Three options are being considered and based on the one selected, voters could end up in new districts and with new council representatives.
Because of dramatic population shifts and growth, the city must redistrict to ensure equal representation. As it stands now, one ward in eastern Newnan represented by Councilman Clayton Hicks currently has about half the city’s population.
The meeting is Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at council chambers in City Hall on LaGrange Street.
Here are the three options being considered:
• 3D: This option splits the city into three large districts. Voters in each district would elect two representatives. The mayor would continue to be elected citywide.
This option best represents the city’s minority population, which is about 30-35 percent of the population, because one district - called District 3 - would have a majority of minority voters. In addition, it is the only option that gives voters three representatives on council — two council members and the mayor.
However, under this proposal, Council members Bob Coggin, George Alexander and Cynthia Jenkins would all be in District 3. Hicks would be the only sitting councilman in the proposed District 1.
• 6D: This would create six smaller districts. Voters would elect one council member from their district. The mayor would be elected citywide.
Under this plan District 6 would be about 55 percent minority voting population and District 5 would be about 48 minority. The others would be predominantly white. Under this proposal, no sitting council member currently represents what will be District 1. Coggin and Alexander would be in the same district - District 5. This option would give each voter one representative on council, along with the mayor.
• Butterfly Option: So named because of its shape, is the only one where sitting council members would not run against each other.
It, too, would create six districts with one council member elected from each. However, it dilutes minority representation the most and is not expected to past federal Department of Justice approval.