Meeting for the first time inside Hinesville’s new city hall, council members voted 2-1 to approve an amendment to the city’s charter to allow for redrawing council districts.
Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier opposed the vote, saying he had concerns over several census blocks.
District 5 council member Ken Shaw was absent, and District 4 council member Keith Jenkins was present at the meeting’s start but left the council chambers before the vote was taken to receive an emergency phone call.
A quorum of three is required for the council to take action on an item, according to city attorney Linnie Darden.
The council took the first of two separate votes on redistricting on July 21. A second vote had to be taken before the council could adopt changes to the city’s charter.
The council began the process of redrawing district lines after receiving the 2010 Census in April. The census numbers showed that the populations of Districts 1 and 4 significantly had increased, and District 2’s numbers had decreased.
Darden had advised the council to rapidly move forward on redistricting, both to comply with the Voting Rights Act and to finish the process before Aug. 29, the start of the qualifying period for the Nov. 8 municipal election.
Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards reminded council members of the annual off-site planning workshop Aug. 10-13 at Sea Palms Golf & Tennis Resort on St. Simons.
“The purpose of the planning workshop is to discuss future plans for the city of Hinesville,” Edwards said.
The initial workshop agenda has council members scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon to prioritize a list of issues each member has forwarded for discussion. The city provided the Courier with an initial list, which could change prior to the workshop.
Thursday and Friday are full sessions starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. Saturday is a half-day session.
Issues for discussion on the initial workshop topic list run the gamut. District 2 council member Jason Floyd may ask if Liberty Transit should be shelved, according to the preliminary list.
One of Mayor Jim Thomas’ issues include considering bringing suit against the Department of Commerce for not including deployed soldiers as Hinesville/Liberty County citizens in the 2010 Census.
Frasier has requested to discuss cutting costs, and Jenkins wants to discuss the possibility of including the council in special-events planning.
District 3 council member David Anderson wants a discussion about the city’s vehicle policy to suggest prohibiting employees from taking vehicles home if they live outside of Liberty County.
Street name changes, code enforcement, annexations, unincorporated islands and providing more recreation for youth are other topics that may be covered during the yearly workshop.