Valley tables vote on redistricting contract

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, October 27, 2021

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VALLEY —  At Monday’s meeting of the Valley City Council, a consent agenda item was pulled to the regular agenda for discussion and then tabled for further consideration before a final vote.

The consent agenda almost always contains items that are not controversial and in most cases are unanimously approved as part of a group.

The item that has been tabled to the next meeting on Nov. 8  was a contract on redistricting.

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The city has seven council districts, each one as equal as possible in terms of population.

Census data showed that Valley grew by more than 1,000 people from 2010 to 2020, so there could be some districting changes.

The resolution on the consent agenda was a contract with the Alabama State University Center for Leadership and Public Policy, which offered to do the needed work for $2,500. Ten years ago, this task was handled by the East Alabama Planning Agency in Anniston. EAPA’s bid this year was $15,000. Council Member Jim Jones asked for the redistricting to be pulled from the consent agenda to allow for more discussion. He said he wanted someone from Alabama State to come and talk to the council about what they will be doing for the city before the council votes on it.

“It’s really important that we do this right,” he said. “I would like for us to talk to the people who will be doing it. They need to be well versed in doing this.”

Mayor Leonard Riley said he had talked to members of the Chambers County Commission about the work done by the ASU Center for Leadership and Public Policy on redistricting. They have previously done work for the county and county officials were pleased with the job that was done. The big issue for Riley was one party willing to do it for $2,500 and the other party wanting $15,000.

“Both will be doing the same thing,” he said. “They will put a big map out there for us to look at and approve.”

“This is extremely important,” Jones said. “I would like to hear from their lead person on this.”

The mayor said he will have them at the next council meeting.

City Attorney John Ben Jones pointed out that there is a fail-safe provision in the proposed resolution.

“The city can opt out if they are not satisfied with their work,” he said. “I understand your concern about meeting with them before this approval.”

Jim Jones asked if the proposal could be tabled until someone from the ASU Center for Leadership and Public Policy comes to a council meeting to discuss what they will be doing.

Riley then asked for a motion to table. Jones motioned, it was seconded and the action was delayed until the next meeting.