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Putnam Drops 7 District Plan After Conflicts With County’s Private Act

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Drops 7 District Plan After Conflicts With County’s Private Act

The Putnam County Commission will not consider a seven district plan for dealing with growth and redistricting.

The county’s redistricting committee voted Monday night to drop the option due to conflicts with the county’s private act. County Attorney Jeff Jones said under the current framework, a seven district plan would not be allowed.

“The commissioner districts can be altered so long as you stay under a six school district, 12 commissioner district plan,” Jones said. “But, if you go outside that framework, then it’s going to require an amendment to the private act.”

The seven district plan would have created seven commissioner and seven school districts thus not following the county’s private act.

With final redistricting plans due by January 1st, Jones said achieving an amendment through state legislators by that time would be difficult. But, State Representative Ryan Williams said technically, passing an amendment could be done.

“The question was asked to me, ‘Do you think we could do it?” Williams said. “Yeah, we can do it, but the deadline of January 1st. I think most people recognize since the federal government held the census data for so long and got it later than we normally do in the process that there’s going to be a lot of these private acts and things happening across the state.”

Jones said the State Comptroller could also extend the deadline, but the possibility seems slim to none. Williams said he would communicate with the Comptroller to see if Putnam’s situation fits.

“If you’re in Rutherford County, you saw a 42 percent increase in the population over the last 10 years,” Williams said. “Those people are struggling on what to do and maintain. We had what is considered great growth in our county. The trend continues not just here and Rutherford County, but all across the state. So, I would encourage you to do what is in the best interest of the citizens.”

Jones said a private act modification would need to happen before approving a seven district plan. If the commission decided to move forward with amending the private act, Jones said the seven district plan would be contingent and in essence, not be a final plan.

The redistricting committee voted 8-3 in favor of dropping the seven district plan. Now, the committee will present a sole plan of 12 districts to the county commission on November 15th. Also, the work session planned for November 8th has been cancelled as all inquiries regarding the new districts will be open for discussion at 5:00 on the 15th.


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