(BEDFORD) - In a packed meeting Tuesday morning, the Lawrence County Commissioners passed two ordinances that changed voting districts of the commissioners and the county council.
Many in the group were not happy with the changes. Bedford resident Scott Smith said the changes were "self-serving politics." However Commissioner Bill Spreen said the changes had to be made because "it was the right thing to do" and is required by state law. The redistricting was done to even out each districts population and balance road miles in each district. Spreen said the processes is done every ten years and this was the year to get the redistricting done.
Commissioners first learned about the problem when Phil Thorne attempted to run for commissioner. He thought he lived in District 1, but found out he actually lived in District 3 and could not run for office. Thorne thought he was in District 1, because District 1 was paying for road improvements in District 3. That is when the commissioners realized there was a problem and that problem needed addressed.
Spreen said he knew the changes would create a "political fire storm."
But many in the group who attended the meeting didn't know why the changes were being done now. A number of people feel the commissioners are making the change because Commissioner Chris May is getting married at the end of the month and has his house up for sale and is planning to move. They felt the lines were being moved so May will still be able to serve as commissioner after he moves. But May said he wasn't sure where he was moving to, if he moved at all. Currently his home is up for sale, but has not sold.
All three commissioners Spreen, May and President Dave Flinn said that is not the reason the changes were made. They said changes were made because it is state law, and the districts were not even with population and road miles. Plus people in District 3 couldn't complain about road conditions to their commissioner because District 1 was actually paying for the road improvements.
With ordinance 2011 -03 County Commissioner District 1 will be comprised of Indian Creek North, Indian Creek South, Perry , Marshall 1, 2, & 3, Shawswick 1A, 5B, 7A, 7B, 10, 12, 13, 15A & 16.
County Commissioner District 2 will be comprised of Bono, Marion 1, 2, 3, 4, 5A, 5B, 5C & 6, Spice Valley North and Spice Valley South.
County Commissioner District 3 will be comprised of Pleasant Run, Guthrie, Shawswick 1B, 2, 3, 4, 5A, 6, 8, 9, 11, 14A, 14B & 15B.
County Council District 1 will be comprised of Indian Creek North, Indian Creek south, spice Valley North, Spice Valley South, Marion 1,2,3, 4, 5A, 5B, 5C.
County Council District 2 will be comprised of Marion 6, Bono, Guthrie, Pleasant Run, Shawswick 3, 11, 14B, 15A & 15B.
County Council District 3 will be comprised of Shawswick 1A, 1N, 4, 5A, 5B, 6, 7A, 7B, 8, 9, 10 & 16.
Lawrence County Auditor Myron Rainey will now send the changes to the State Election Board for approval.
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