BY HANNAH LESTER
The Auburn City Council voted to purchase playground equipment for Dinius Park Tuesday night.
The council approved the contract with GameTime for over $59,700 for the equipment. Some playground equipment has already been installed at Dinius Park.
“Since the opening of the park, heavy use of the equipment has been noted,” the city’s e-packet said. “Staff anticipates heavier use once the pavilion is installed.”
The equipment will include a solo spinner, an ionix play-structure and an arch swing.
The city of Auburn voted to postpone the vote on its redistricting plan for a second time Tuesday night during the Auburn City Council Meeting.
The vote was postponed after several local branch #5038 NAACP members spoke out against the city’s plan for redistricting in December.
A branch-hired cartographer, Tabitha Isner, from Montgomery, put together, with the branch, a plan that would include two minority-majority districts in the city.
Census data shows that the city of Auburn grew by more than 22,000 since the last count. Auburn’s total population is 76,143 and the goal is for each district to have about 9,518. In 2010, Auburn’s population was 53,380 with each district ideally having about 6,672 residents.
“Redistricting occurs after each decennial census so that political representation reflects population growth and change,” the city of Auburn website said. “The Code of Alabama 1975, Section 11-43A-33 sets forth redistricting procedures that include a process where the City must review and, if needed, redraw the district (ward) boundaries based on the 2020 census population with the purpose of gaining equal representation for each district by having as nearly as possible equal population in each.”
Redistricting must be completed within a set time frame. It occurs six months after receiving Census data and six months before the next municipal election, which for Auburn is on Aug. 23, 2022.
Redrawing city lines to hopefully reach the population goal of 9,518 residents per ward has to be within 5%.
The minority population in the city of Auburn grew from 26.5% of the total population to 36.8% of the total population, said Laticia Khalif, vice president of the NAACP branch.
After two separate meetings where the branch urged the council to postpone the vote, the council obliged on Dec. 21 and took extra time to review information.
However, near the conclusion of the last meeting, City Manager Megan Crouch said that the map that would be presented to the council would still be the original, which included one minority-majority district.
Tuesday night, Crouch informed the council that the city has not completed reviewing the information provided by the NAACP branch and the e-packet from the city recommended the council postpone until Jan. 18.
“I have every reason to believe that we’ll be fully prepared to discuss this on Jan. 18,” Crouch said.
Three citizens spoke during the Jan. 4 meeting and expressed concerns regarding redistricting — related to the city and county’s overlapping lines and polling places and with a consultant hired by the city.
Ward 2 Council Member Kelley Griswold asked if Crouch expected any changes to the map to be presented on or before Jan. 18.
“To date, the map that you have before you is the map the staff has presented,” she said. “At the end of the day, I do not have a full analysis yet of the alternative map to tell you if anybody would advise a change.”
– The council presented a commendation to the Auburn High Girls Cross Country Team for winning the 2021 State Championship
– The council voted to change the meeting time for the Feb. 5 meeting to 5 p.m.
– The council approved an alcohol beverage license for the Auburn Candle Company.
– The council authorized a grant submittal for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program.
– The council approved a contract with Southern Software, Inc., for the renewal of a customer support fee for the Case Management, Computer Automated Dispatch Systems, Narcotics Management System and Mapping Display System for the Auburn Police Division for just under $19,000.
– The council approved two appointments to the Board of Zoning Adjustment.
– The council amended the commercial development agreement with Little Acre Properties, LLC.