Moore worried about districts

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 28, 2003

Thomas Moore raised an interesting question at the last meeting of the Demopolis City Council meeting.

“I just want to make sure the [council] districts are correct,” he said.

Moore doesn’t know the right answer to that question. He also doesn’t even know if there should be changes made to the council district lines.

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“What I want to do, as a representative to people in this city, is to make sure we’re doing things the right way,” Moore said.

In the 2000 Census, numbers revealed that the city of Demopolis only gained 27 new people. In recent population numbers released, the city of Demopolis has actually shrunk from 7,540 residents in 2000 to 7,435 residents in 2002.

Mayor Austin Caldwell said he isn’t sure what the appropriate numbers are, but he doesn’t feel there is enough of a change either way to make a difference in the council districts.

In order to make a change, Caldwell said a number of avenues would have to be explored.

First of all, the U.S. Census Bureau would have to make a change to the official numbers of Demopolis. Once that happened, a professor from the University of Alabama — William Stewart — would have to come here and begin the process of drawing off new district lines in the city.

And once those lines were changed, the U.S. Justice Department would have to approve the lines.

Caldwell said he has spoken with city attorney Rick Manley about the issue.

“Right now, we haven’t heard anything,” Caldwell said earlier this week.

While Moore said he doesn’t have any particular problems with the current districts, he doesn’t believe the numbers released by the Census Bureau are incorrect.

“I just know that we’ve had a bunch of housing starts, and there are people who have moved to town,” Moore said.

Caldwell agrees with that assessment.

“I think our population is closer to 8,000,” he said.

The issue of the U.S. Census Bureau making a change to the official numbers is a long-shot, though. Demopolis is just one of a number of cities that have suggested that the census was incorrect. However, the process of getting numbers changed is costly and counter-productive for most municipalities.