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Council votes to send new ward lines to Justice Department
by Gary Kent
Feb 19, 2012 | 1061 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — City Council members approved a new ward map when they met Tuesday evening, Feb. 7.

The action allows Austin attorney Robert Bass to send the redistricting plan to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance.

Bass, one of the partners of the Austin law firm of Allison, Bass & Associates, said the new ward lines should be approved within a maximum of 60 days.

That will allow Beeville to hold its City Council elections May 12, as scheduled.

Council members in three wards face expiring terms this year.

They are Santiago “Jimbo” Martinez in Ward 2, John Govella Fulghum in Ward 3 and David Carabajal in Ward 4.

Martinez is the current mayor, a position he has been elected to by the council.

Only three council members were present at the meeting. The motion to approve the new boundaries was made by Fulghum and seconded by Councilwoman Libby Spires.

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Scotten, who was presiding over the session, joined the council members in voting for the new lines.

Bass had recommended a public hearing on the proposed new ward lines, saying that, even though his plan solved the problems in districts caused by population shifts, it possibly could have changed some neighborhoods.

He said only city residents could provide that kind of information.

However, not one citizen came to comment on the proposed lines at the hearing Tuesday.

Council members acted on the recommendation, because it did address any problems that stemmed from the 2010 Census of the city.

Bass said the new lines also maintain ethnic and racial percentages in the wards. He said the city’s population is 72 percent Hispanic and 2.3 percent African-American.

Anglos make up less than a quarter of Beeville’s population, Bass said.

“We will submit the plan at the end of the week or at the beginning of next week,” Bass told the council. City Manager Tom Ginter assured the attorney that he would have any additional information needed by the time the firm intended to send the information to Washington.

In other business, the council voted to:

— Pay facade grants to Eissler’s Appliance Service, 1401 S. Washington St., and to the Lazy R Saddle Shop, 327 N. Washington St.

The Eissler’s project will receive $4,604.46 for facade improvements, and the Lazy R will receive $6,000.

The money will come from the city’s 4B sales tax to fund economic development projects.

Each project was recommended for approval by the city’s Economic Improvement Corporation.

— Pay invoices of $65,293.92 to Gignac and Associates and $38,064.69 to AGCM for work done on the city’s parks improvement project. The funds are to come from the BEIC budget.

— Pay a $24,996 bill to American Electric Power for providing three-phase electric connections to Veterans Memorial Park.

That money will come from bond sale proceeds associated with the park improvements project.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.

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