Eutaw still has a ways to go

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 17, 2004

EUTAW-A new plan to add 1,100 more residents into the city limits of Eutaw has to be approved before the city election is held on Aug. 29, but there’s a chance that it will not be approved and then the city can’t hold its election said one city councilmember.

Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele said the annexation ordinance passed on a 5-1 vote with councilmember Lew Bostick voting no during Wednesday’s special called meeting at city hall. He also said he was meeting with attorneys Thursday getting the paperwork ready to be sent off to the United States Justice Department for approval.

“Since the ordinance was passed we’re now working to get it sent off, so we can get it approved as quick as possible,” Steele said.

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Cecil Durrett has served on the city council since 1976 and he said this whole thing is just a big mess. He also said now that the ordinance has passed it must be approved and he heard that it might not even be approved by the justice department.

He also said the council originally wanted to split the voting districts into seven districts, but the council missed the deadline in order to do that, so now they are going with a standard five district plan. He said under the plan that has been sent in, he would be sharing the district with councilmember Joe Sanders.

“The population of each district has to be evened out to five percent of the mean population, which is basically 600 residents per district,” Durrett said.

He said right now the districts are shaping up to look like there will be three majority black districts including District 2 and 4, which would be almost 100 percent black and District 1 which would be about 94 percent black. District 3 is the only majority white district under this new plan and District 5 is about 60/40 black to white.

“If this plan isn’t accepted by the justice department, then we will have to start all over in our process and that could have a major effect on being able to hold the city elections on Aug. 29,” Durrett said.