Public hearing planned on proposed beat lines

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Lincoln County supervisors have scheduled a Sept. 5 publichearing to gain public input on a redistricting plan before it issubmitted to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval.

“We need to have some public input and decide whether we want togo forward with it,” Bob Allen, board attorney, told supervisorsduring Monday’s meeting.

The hearing is Thursday, Sept. 5, at 6 p.m. Allen said officialsare finalizing the redistricting plan and it will be discussedduring the hearing.

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Redistricting officials have said supervisor district lines needto be redrawn because individual district populations are too farout of line with voting rights provisions. Minority voting strengthmust also be maintained, but ensuring “one-man, one-vote” equalityamong all districts has been officials’ main consideration duringredistricting efforts.

County officials hope to have justice department pre-clearanceof a redistricting plan by the end of the year. New supervisor andother county district lines would be used in next year’selections.

In other legal action activity Monday, Allen and supervisorswill look into strengthening the county’s 911 ordinance regardingutility connections to homes that do not have 911 addresses. Countyofficials have attributed some of the county’s delinquent garbagefee situation to the utility connection issue.

Allen said the 1998 ordinance prohibits utility companies fromconnecting without a form verifying a customer’s 911 address;however, there is no penalty for violation of the ordinance.Officials want to include a provision requiring disconnection ifordinance procedures are not followed.

“That’s going to stop that,” Allen said.

On a related note, Allen is working a septic tank ordinance forthe county. A provision of that law will be that people have a 911address before a tank is installed.

At several previous board meetings, residents have complainedabout the smell of sewage and sought the board’s help.

A question Monday was whether the ordinance would be retroactiveto require septic tanks at existing residences or make theordinance take effect when it is passed. Supervisors chose to makethe law progressive from its passage date.

“Any existing problems, people had the resource of going throughthe health department to get those corrected,” said District 4Supervisor W.D. “Doug” Moak, referring to state health departmentguidelines.

An ordinance is expected to be brought up for approval at alater board meeting.

A junkyard ordinance is under consideration by supervisors afterresidents have complained about some areas of the county.

Allen said the state has laws regarding junk vehicles alonghighways and the Department of Environmental Quality has guidelinesrelating to health standards. However, there are no rules regardingjunk or abandoned vehicles on county roads.

Supervisors are looking at a possible ordinance to set upguidelines and restrictions related to junk vehicles. District 2Supervisor Bobby J. Watts speculated that many people don’t mindvehicles in people’s yards, but there was an appearanceconcern.

“People don’t want to be able to see them,” Watts said.

Allen is also gathering information regarding Crimestoppers andan ordinance to establish a justice court fee to help support thecrime information tip service. The legislature this year authorizedan up to $2 assessment on traffic and other citations to fund theservice.

District 1 Supervisor Cliff Givens was unable to attend Monday’smeeting after being hospitalized for a leaky heart valve. Givens,76, remains in the Intensive Care Unit at King’s Daughters MedicalCenter Tuesday.

“He’s doing good and he’s responding to the medicine,” saidVedia Givens, his wife.

Mrs. Givens said Cliff Givens would stay overnight at thehospital while doctors monitor his reaction to the new medication.Additional tests were also expected to be done in Jackson later,she said.