Local News

June 7, 2011

Magisterial districts to be restructured

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Some residents may soon be voting in different magisterial districts due to the 2010 Census.

The magisterial districts are reviewed every 10 years following the United States Census reports and Laurel County may undergo some changes in voter precincts to balance the change in population since the 2000 Census.

A three-person committee, comprised of Roy Sizemore, Don McFadden and Earl Bailey, was appointed to review the new Census report, with those persons approved during last week’s regular meeting of the Laurel County Fiscal Court.  Each member of the re-apportionment committee will receive $125 per meeting.

A recent article stated that magistrates were approved for the $125 per meeting rate. Magistrates are paid on a yearly salary and the upcoming fiscal year (2011-2012) budget reflects $133,807.68 set aside for magistrate salaries. That averages to $22,310 per year.

The $125 per meeting rate applies only to the three members of the re-apportionment committee and was approved by the magistrates for that rate. That committee will review the Census report and suggest changes in voter precincts to balance the population more evenly for the six magisterial districts. Their recommendations will be presented to the Laurel County Fiscal Court and then sent to Frankfort for final approval.

District 2 magistrate Danny Smith and District 4 magistrate Jeff Book, along with Deputy Judge Executive Rick Brewer, explained the reapportionment committee is assigned to review the voting precincts after the United States Census is done every 10 years.

Brewer said the 2010 Census reflected population growth in some magisterial districts while others declined. Book’s district, for instance, has a lesser population than bordering Districts 3 and 5. Westerfield said District 4 would probably be extended to include a precinct from District 5, which is currently represented by Billy Oakley.

“Since the Census was done, the committee has to review the (magisterial) districts on the percentage of population,” said Book. “That might mean I would pick up a precinct in my district to have as many voters as in other districts.”

Danny Smith, magistrate for District 2, said the population in his district has grown enormously over the past 10 years and he would most likely lose some precincts  in order to balance out the registered voters. Those precincts could be reassigned to District 1, represented by Roy Crawford.

“The magisterial districts are based on population, not by (voting)  precincts,” Westerfield said. “We just have to re-appropriate them to balance it out.”

Both Westerfield and Brewer said they did not foresee any changes in  precincts included in magisterial districts 3 and 6, which are currently represented by Teddy Benge and Noah Baker.

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