Today is Saturday, August 23, 2014

LSSD maps differ, confuse officials

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The voter reportedly told Warren that he paid the LSSD property tax, and Warren said he checked with Property Assessor Jack Pratts office and found the voter did in fact, pay the school tax. Warren said the map in the Property Assessors office showed the voters property inside the LSSD.


Our map and the LSSD map were different from the map in the Property Assessors office, Warren said.


A map obtained from Pratts office showed the discrepancies between three layers that showed maps from the LSSD, Election Commission and Property Assessors office. Pratt explained some areas included in his map were not included in the LSSD map or the Election Commission map.


Warren said the maps were found to be different and he checked voters addresses in the areas in dispute to be sure that those individuals knew they could vote in the LSSD race. According to Warren, about 23 registered voters were left out of the LSSD district on the maps given to the Election Commission.


According to the map in the Property Assessors office, several parcels on Hickory Ridge Road were left out of the LSSD and Election Commission map, and properties between Southside Park and Murfreesboro Road were left out, as well as other smaller parcels around the boundary.


Warren also said Pratt supplied him with a list of everyone who lives within the districts based on property tax records.


Jack really helped us out by giving us a list during Early Voting so we could cross reference those names, Warren said.


Warren pointed out the Election Commission receives its maps from the Wilson County Planning Department. Wilson County Planner Tom Brashear said the Election Commission receives all of his departments data and layers or political boundaries.


My GIS (Geographic Information Systems) coordinator worked with the Election Commission, Brashear said. We have sent them the layers and data that we have.


Brashear said his departments maps showed the same areas missing from the LSSD found by the Election Commission during August Early Voting.


His property didnt show up on our layers as being in the LSSD, Brashear said, referring to the voter in question. Brashear added the maps used by the Election Commission are the same as those in the planning department.


As to why the boundaries differ from the LSSD, planning department and Property Assessors officer, Brashear said he couldnt think of a reason why they would be different.


The exterior boundary of the LSSD has not changed since 1993. Any changes of the district as a whole must be approved by the Tennessee General Assembly as it is a special school district and not a city school system.


Brashear noted his department would have received the boundaries from the school district.


We would have gotten the boundaries from the LSSD at some point, he said. It has been a layer in our system for years. If there is a problem, it needs to be resolved.


Benson said the maps in his office show the LSSD since the system changed its school zones for the opening of Winfree-Bryant Middle School in 2011. He added the maps came from the planning department, which handled the mapping work for the district.


Brashear said the final approval for those maps came from the LSSD and added that school officials confirmed the maps were correct. At that time, Benson was interim assistant director of schools and Dr. Sharon Roberts the director of schools for the LSSD.


I get my maps from Wilson County and the maps I have are from when we rezoned the district to build Winfree-Bryant Middle School, Benson said.


Officials did not say, or were unaware, how long the maps have shown the differences in the boundary. Warren was adamant that everyone who is eligible to vote in the LSSD is in their database of registered voters.


Warren said the Election Commission added further fail-safes in its computer system to make sure voters are identified properly according to where they live. Instead of just an L, we added LSSD so there is no confusion.


Warren said the Election Commission now has the same map or layer for the LSSD that the Property Assessors office has and noted they have been double-checking addresses and tax records to be sure voters know they can vote in the LSSD.


He pointed out the LSSD boundaries do not follow the Lebanon City Limits and said voters who are unsure about whether they live in the LSSD should call before the Nov. 6 election.


Thats the key here, to call ahead of time and if you have a question while youre voting, ask a poll worker, because once you finish voting, theres nothing we can do, Warren said.


Early Voting for the Nov. 6 General and City Election begins Wednesday, Oct. 17 and runs through Thursday, Nov. 1.


Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.


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The colored areas in the above photos show the LSSD district on a map at the Wilson County Property Assessor's Office. The yellow areas indicate what was left out of the maps at the LSSD office and the Election Commission. Blue areas show what was on the map at the LSSD office, but left out at the Property Assessor's office.

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