Lamar County Supervisors disagree on new political lines

By Sheri Falk – bio | email

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Lamar County Supervisors are in the process of re-drawing political lines but one Supervisor sees the new district lines completely different from the rest of the board.

2011 census data showed that over the past 10 years the county has seen a 42% increase in population. Thursday at the Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Ben Winston voiced his concerns over how it should be done.

"I feel the redistricting process is complex, so it would be more suitable for us to acquire a firm that has the expertise to do it, instead of us trying to do it in house."

Winston made a motion to consider hiring an outside law firm who the board consulted with earlier in the week but his motion was denied. Winston said, the census numbers show a large percent of minority residents reside in his district and a portion of district one. He feels the county could possibly create a majority-minority district.

"The proximity of these two districts and having a big portion of the black population which out of the 19.6% we are looking at probably 12% to 13% of it is located just in this particular area."

District 5 Supervisor Fred Hatten sees nothing complicated about the process and said it can be done in house, where it won't cost the county much money. Board President Joe Bounds agreed.

"This could be a problem for us down the road." Winston said, he believes by being one of the leading counties in the state of Mississippi, "We're in a position to set an example and I hope that we would take the opportunity to do it and do it right the first time."

Winston said he feels using in house people will create controversy. "This is going to create a conflict because in house people are going to be listening to my ideas and to the other board members ideas, it's going to put them in an uncomfortable position. So, if we hired somebody outside of the county, it would be in the best interest of everyone. "

Before any final decisions are made, the board will hold a public meeting on April 4, to hear comments from residents.

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