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<p><p><strong>Barb Girtman</strong></p></p><p></p>

Communication, it has been said, is the solvent of all problems.

It’s the reason I happily accepted an invitation two years ago from The West Volusia Beacon to have a regular column published in this newspaper — so that I could directly communicate with Beacon readers about issues affecting you and our West Volusia community. I’m grateful to The Beacon for providing this forum for exchanging thoughts, ideas, wishes, concerns and a vision for our future.

This is the 22nd column of mine that The Beacon has published since April 2020. They’ve addressed a wide range of topics — from affordable housing to infrastructure needs, from trails to shelters, from COVID to SunRail, and from transportation service to microchipping pets.

For me, these columns have always been about issues, policies and actions — not politics. And, as it turns out, this will be my final column — at least, for a while. The reason is that we’re now back in a political season.

Because I’m a candidate for re-election this year to the District 1 seat on the Volusia County Council, I don’t think it would be appropriate during the campaign to continue filling this space with my opinions, ideas and policy positions.

So, respect for the political process dictates that my columns go on hiatus until the 2022 election is over and voters in District 1 have decided who they want to represent them on the County Council for the next four years.

Speaking of District 1, you may have heard that the boundaries are going to change just a little bit.

This is the result of the 2020 census count and the redistricting process that’s required every 10 years to make sure that the County Council’s five districts remain as compact and contiguous and as close in population as possible. This is to ensure that everyone in the county is equally represented.

The results of the most recent census showed that Volusia County’s population increased by 11.9 percent between 2010 and 2020, from 494,593 to 553,543 residents.

Of all five council districts, the largest population growth was in District 1. And that required some adjustments to the district’s boundaries to make the population in all of the districts nearly equal.

The impacts were mostly minor. Some residents in the area of U.S. Highway 11 and Daugharty Road, as well as some residents around Old Daytona Road and International Speedway Boulevard, will be shifted from District 4 into District 1.

Meanwhile, some residents around Larkspur Road and Ridge Boulevard will be shifted from District 1 into District 3, and some DeBary residents currently in District 1 will be shifted into District 5.

But for the overwhelming majority of residents in Northwest Volusia who already live in District 1, they’re going to stay in the district.

Thank you for taking the time to read my columns and share your thoughts and ideas with me. Please stay engaged, stay involved and keep the communication going. Communication really can help solve any problem!

— Girtman is seeking re-election to the District 1 seat on the Volusia County Council. So far, the only other candidate for the District 1 seat is Wallace Bailey of DeLand. Candidates have until late June to qualify to run for the office.

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