Jun. 29—The City of Fulton's four wards may look a bit different in the near future.
In its monthly session on June 21, the Fulton Board of Aldermen consulted with a representative from Slaughter and Associates, an Oxford-based firm which specializes in urban planning, civil engineering and municipal finance.
Fulton's current wards are based on census data from 2010. While the board is also exploring options for annexing areas on the outskirts of Fulton which benefit from the city's utilities but lie outside the city limits — and whose residents, therefore, don't pay city taxes — the primary focus in consulting with Slaughter and Associates will be on getting Fulton's outdated districts redrawn to better reflect their populations.
"Currently we need to focus on redistricting more than annexing," Mayor Emily Quinn said. "In 2021, Ward 1 was composed of 450 voters, while Wards 2-4 had a total of 538, 604, and 605 voters. In order to make each ward more balanced, we will have to redistrict and bring each ward as close to 549 as we can."
The board also addressed several city personnel changes in the meeting. The board named Shane Smith as a part-time chief of the city's fire department. Smith, the president of Fulton's volunteer fire department, offered his services to the city on a volunteer basis for a year while Fulton finds a more permanent replacement for Brad Beard, who is retiring as Fulton's fire chief. The board also hired Chandler Bounds, at Smith's recommendation, as a full-time firefighter pending Bounds passing EMR certification.
The board also announced that Bryan Wood, the City of Fulton's utilities manager, would be stepping down from his position, effective after June 24.
Finally, the city addressed the tax exemption status of several Fulton area businesses. The city revoked tax exempt status for Riverside Hardwoods, while granting exemption status to Marietta Wood Supply; Marietta Dry Kiln, LLC; Mueller Copper Tube; Homan Forest Products; and F.L. Crane. The exemptions cover taxes that the companies would owe on finished goods, machinery, equipment and raw goods, but the companies will still be responsible for paying other taxes such as school and fire taxes.