No objections to new district boundaries for JPs

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Some district boundaries for Justices of the Peace may change because of the new Census.

BERRYVILLE -- The process of redistricting of Justice of the Peace districts moved a step closer to completion Friday when members of the Carroll County Election Commission hosted a public hearing to accept comments on their proposal and no objections arose.

That proposal is outlined in a map on display at the county clerk's office that was prepared by Election Coordinator Bethe Henley. It shows four of the districts staying the same and the remaining seven adjusted slightly to accommodate new Census figures.

According to the 2010 Census, the county's population now stands at 27,445. That means each of the 11 JPs should serve a district with 2,495 residents.

At a previous commission meeting, members agreed that some of the existing JP districts fell into that category and a few came up short. They decided to keep existing boundary lines whenever possible and adjust others to comply.

Two JPs impacted by new Census numbers are those in the Green Forest area; District 8 representative Ronnie Blackburn and District 9 representative Don McNeely.

Both now reside in the same JP district after Green Forest city leaders moved its residents who live west of Butler Avenue from Ward 2 into Ward 1 to adjust for new Census figures. McNeely was one of those residents, putting both he and Blackburn in the same JP district.

When no one came forward to comment at Friday's public hearing, the election commission moved forward and ordered the publication of its redistricting plan as a legal notice in the newspaper, as required by state election law.

"People will have 30 days from publication to contest," explained County Clerk Jamie Correria. If there are no objections, the redistricting plan goes on to the secretary of state's office where it is filed and becomes the law of the land -- in time for 2012 JP elections.

According to the plan:

* District 1, currently represented by Jack Deaton, will cover the Holiday Island voting precinct -- but not the Beaver voting precinct, which was moved to District 2;

* District 2, currently represented by Dan Mumaugh, will continue to cover Packard Springs, it will take on Beaver, lose Winona and lose part of Johnson Springs;

* District 3, currently represented by Lamont Richie, will take on a part of Johnson Springs and continue to cover Eureka Springs Wards 1, 2 and 3. Eureka city does not have enough residents to make up a JP district on its own.

* District 4, currently represented by Ron Flake, will continue to cover Polo and Kings River voting precincts, plus take on Winona.

* District 5, currently represented by David Clark, will remain exactly the same, encompassing all of Berryville's Ward 1;

* District 6, currently represented by Joe Mills, will continue to cover Berryville's Ward 2 -- but will lose a part of the Northwest/Southwest Prairie Township voting precinct which was moved to District 7;

* District 7, currently represented by John Reeve, will now encompass all of Northwest/Southwest Prairie -- and continue to cover Cabanal and Northeast/Southeast Prairie;

* District 8, currently represented by Ronnie Blackburn, will remain exactly the same with Green Forest Ward 1 and Northeast/Northwest Hickory voting precincts;

* District 9, currently represented by Don McNeely, will remain exactly the same with Green Forest Ward 2 and Southeast/Southwest Hickory;

* District 10, currently represented by Larry Swofford, will remain exactly the same with North and South Yocum, Long Creek and Coin;

* District 11, currently represented by John Howerton, will remain exactly the same with Liberty, Carrollton, Omega, Osage, Piney and Dry Fork voting precincts.

The commission has until January 2012 to complete the task.

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