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Dawson County commission districts may be redrawn
Population increased by nearly 40 percent
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Recent census numbers have Dawson County officials looking at the possibility of redrawing the county commission districts.

According to Commission Chairman Mike Berg, every 10 years each county in the state has the opportunity to look at commission districts to see if they are evenly distributed.

"We did it in 2000 after the last census and now we have the opportunity to do it again in 2011," he said.

The county saw its population increase by nearly 40 percent, or 6,326 residents, growing from 16,004 in 2000 to 22,330 in 2010.

County Manager Kevin Tanner said he anticipates a need to redraw the district lines.

"District 2 is going to have the largest population area compared to the other districts, and District 1 would have the lowest population compared to the other districts," he said.

"But there may be some required shifts in all the areas in order to make the numbers work."

District 2 encompasses the Ga. Highway 136 area, from Ga. 400 to the Lumpkin County line.

District 1 is made up of the Dawson part of Big Canoe and the surrounding area.

Berg said redistricting would have little to no impact on county residents since commission seats are elected countywide.

Redistricting, however, could affect residents planning to run for office.

"From a residency standpoint, that's where it could make a difference," he said.

Two public hearings are required before the commission could vote to send local legislation to the state for approval before Aug. 15.

That's when state legislators are expected to reconvene at the Capitol for a special session to tackle state districting hearings.

The first public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 2 during the commission's regularly scheduled meeting.

The second hearing will be held during a special called meeting at 4 p.m. June 9.

Both will be held in the G.L. Pete Gilleland meeting room at city hall.

The meetings are open to the public.

Hall County and Gainesville officials haven't yet discussed the idea of redistricting, but they're preparing for talks to surface this summer.

The House and Senate Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment committees with hold a joint meeting in Gainesville from 4-6 p.m. June 21 at Brenau University's Hosch Theatre.

The committees are holding public hearings around the state this summer before lawmakers head back to the special session Aug. 15 to set reapportionment maps.

In addition, Mayor Ruth Bruner, a member of the Georgia Municipal Association Legislative Policy Council, is attending a conference with the council this week, where members may discuss upcoming district changes.

Times staff writer Carolyn Crist contributed to this report.