The Berea City Council is against a proposal in the state House of Representatives that would cut up Madison County into five legislative districts. The county now is divided into two large and one small districts.
The redistricting draft, which is based on 2010 census information, could prevent Madison County from being served by longtime Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster.
The council unanimously adopted a joint resolution that is going before the Richmond City Commission and the Madison Fiscal Court.
The resolution calls for “... the proposed plan imposing five districts in Madison County be rejected and that Madison County be assigned two legislative districts.”
“I hate to lose Lonnie Napier because I think he’s been a good representative, and I also think it’s unrealistic to have five representatives and some out of the county,” said council member Violet Farmer.
All three governments must adopt the resolution before it will be sent to the House of Representatives leadership, Connelly said.
The fiscal court could adopt the resolution as early as Monday, which is the next meeting of the fiscal court.
“We want to sit down and talk to some legislators that are putting this together and hopefully they’ll do what’s best for Madison County,” said Madison Judge/Executive Kent Clark. “We’re opposed to (the redistricting plan), absolutely.”
The three governing bodies met together in November to discuss matters of mutual concerns, including the redistricting proposal that will come before the House of Representatives when it convenes Jan. 4.
The draft redistricting plan was drawn to accommodate population shifts and not aimed at either Napier or Madison County, both Napier and state Rep. Bob Damon, D-Nicholasville, have said in separate interview.
Because counties in eastern and southern Kentucky lost population as counties in central Kentucky grew, legislative districts in the east and south are growing to take in more territory.
If the plan is adopted, some precincts in eastern Madison County would become part of a district that includes Estill, Lee and Breathitt counties. It is represented by Rep. Teddy Edmonds, D-Jackson.
Precincts in southern Madison County would be added to the district of Rep. Danny Ford, R- Mt. Vernon, who now represents Rockcastle, Lincoln and part of Pulaski counties.
Napier has encouraged citizens to voice their opinion about the proposal by calling the state legislature’s message line at 1-800-372-7181.
In other business:
The first reading of an ordinance was heard that would, if passed, require pawn shops, secondhand dealers, junk dealers and scrap metal dealers to require identification of sellers or other records.
Homes being built with engineered lumber will have to be labeled, if the council passes the second reading of an ordinance introduced at Tuesday’s meeting. If passed, Berea’s codes enforcement office will be participating in identifying homes containing engineered lumber.
“Probably every house that’s been built in the last 10 or 15 years has some engineered lumber in it,” said Dale VanWinkle, Berea’s codes enforcement administrator. “They tend to burn very, very quickly.”
Labeling structures containing this material would allow firefighters to take the proper safety measures necessary before entering the structure, he said.
Homeowners will be given a 6X6-inch reflective sticker that will be placed on the outside electric meter, which is the first thing checked by firefighters after arriving on scene, he said.
A fine be imposed on homeowners who do not comply, VanWinkle said.
The council adopted a resolution approving the 2011 Bluegrass Area Development District Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
“The City of Richmond and the (fiscal court) are going to approve it next week,” said Michael Bryant of the Madison County Emergency Management Agency. “We have to have this. If you don’t have this in place, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to get FEMA funding.
GIS coordinator Paul Schrader announced that the effective date for updated FEMA maps has been moved from this month to Aug. 16, 2012.
FEMA introduced new floodplain maps and insurance rate maps last year and they were met with great opposition.
Planning and Zoning officials from Berea, Richmond and Madison County have all agreed the new maps were not accurate.
“They have areas shown in the floodplain that should not be, and there also are areas that are not in the floodplain maps and should be,” said Duane Curry during a June 2010 meeting. Curry serves as the county’s planning and development administrator.
Visit www.floodmaps.fema.gov for a detailed listing of the proposed base flood elevations.
The next meeting of the Berea City Council is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20 at the Berea Police and Municipal Building, Chestnut Street.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6608.