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in South Ward would be transferred to North in city plan

[10/21/03]Nearly 1,500 South Ward residents will become North Ward voters if the adjustment approved Monday by the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen wins expected federal approval.

No one spoke against the proposed new line, which transfers most of the Marcus Bottom area into the North Ward to overcome a shift in population that occurred since the last adjustment following the 1990 census.

Racial balances are not sharply changed.

The plan was prepared by North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young and presented by Central Mississippi Planning and Development. After receiving the plan, the U.S. Department of Justice has 90 days to gauge whether it has a racially discriminatory effect. If not, the new line will be used to separate North and South ward voters in the 2005 municipal election.

Maps showing the new wards are available at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library, City Clerk’s Office and at the Circuit Clerk’s Office.

Before 1976, Vicksburg’s two aldermen were elected at-large. Since, there’s been a predominantly black North Ward and a predominantly white South Ward.

Today, the line that separates the North and South wards begins at the Mississippi River at Fairground Street and runs along Bowmar Avenue, Stouts Bayou, Mission 66 and Clay Street.

The number of residents in each ward will be about 13,224.

In the North Ward, where 81.3 percent of residents were identified as black, the number rises to 82.2 percent with the rest white or other.

In the South Ward, where 52 percent of voters were identified as white, that number rises to 59 percent with the remainder black or other.

In other matters the city board:

Set a public hearing for 10 a.m. Nov. 17 for a new sign outside Ameristar Casino Hotel.

Adopted an amendment to the city flood plain ordinance that requires structures that meet certain guidelines following repetitive flooding to be elevated 24 inches above the flood level.

Received sealed bids for the construction of the rail spur to Hancor Industries on U.S. 61 South.

Authorized final payment to Dillon Construction Inc., for the painting and general repairs to Central Fire Station.

Swore in four new police officers.

Approved a $300 advertisement in the Miss Vicksburg and Miss West Central Mississippi pageant.

Tabled a request from the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation for $5,240 to fund fall programing.

Entered an agreement with Allen & Hoshall for engineering services for water and fire hydrant improvements.

Approved $3,500 for petty cash for the Vicksburg Police Department.

Approved a request from the Vicksburg Police Department for $390 to purchase shirts for the city Harvest Festival from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 30 at City Park.

Approved a new city organizational chart.

The city board will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday at City Hall Annex.