The Jackson County Board of Commissioners have adopted a resolution to add another district to the commission and will address the proposed redistricted map on Monday.
Gina Roy, assistant county manager, said on October 4 the board adopted the resolution to create the fifth district and to change the county charter to reflect that.
Roy said the population in Jackson County has changed from the 2010 to the 2020 census results, with a roughly 25% increase in population in the county in the 10 year span.
“What we have found is our growth and density with our population has all grown in that West Jackson area coming up that I-85 Corridor around Braselton, Hoschton, in that area, and we were going to have trouble actually balancing out and meeting deviation for our districts that were in the East and South Jackson area to keep that density in that consolidation together, so our board decided to take a look at possibly creating a fifth district,” said Roy.
The population growth meant the county would need to be redistricted regardless, but Roy said striking a balance with the representation of the population was key, so they opted to add another district.
“Population as a whole is going to be represented in a more efficient and equitable way. So you don't have a commissioner that is representing you that possibly is 15 miles away,” said Roy. “You know, we have a large county as far as land population but you could have if we kept it as four districts, you could have a citizen that's in that West Jackson area being represented by somebody that is possibly 15 miles away and doesn't know the conditions of whatever they need to be represented on that side of the county. And so with this I think that fair and equitable representation is more equal and sorted out.”
Currently, the Board of Commissioners has commissioners for four districts and an at-large commissioner. The redistricting would place the new district in the western side of the county.
“Our district on that West Jackson side would basically shrink an area but grow in population and take up that Braselton, Hoschton area, then we would have the new district coming East a little bit and up 85,” said Roy. “The new district would encompass the Talmo-Pendergrass area, and come down past 85 And get that western side, outside the city limits of Jefferson. And then you basically have population and smaller area that population serving that Jefferson area, and then you would have a district that is Commerce and East Jackson and then you have an area that is Southeast and South Jackson.”
On Monday, the board plans to finalize and approve the proposed redistricted map, which would then go to the reapportionment office so it could be sent to local legislation.
Roy said when two commissioners are up for reelection in 2022, the new district commissioner would be added to that cycle. That would both maintain the staggered election cycle and bring each election cycle to three commissioners running each, she said.