City board could set redistricting hearing Monday

Published 11:47 am Friday, March 16, 2012

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen could set an April public hearing Monday to let city residents review two proposed plans to redraw the city’s aldermanic wards, Mayor Paul Winfield said Thursday.

The board in February proposed holding a hearing on the plans this month, but Winfield said it was delayed to give Central Mississippi Planning and Development District officials time to include some recommendations from the board on the maps.

“The city clerk (Walter Osborne) is going to go back and see what was done 10 years ago, and then we’ll look at a date,” Winfield said. “We should be able to set the date when we meet Monday.”

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CMPDD planner David Wade, who is preparing the maps, said the goal is to have a plan approved by the board in time to submit it to the U.S. Justice Department for pre-clearance well before qualifying begins Jan. 1 for city elections. He said there was no set deadline to have the maps to the Justice Department, which takes about 60 to 120 days to act on a plan.

“We want to submit it by the summer so it will be approved in time for the clerk to correct the voter rolls before Jan. 1,” he said.

City officials were required to redraw the ward lines because the South Ward’s population increased by 1,882 people, according to the 2010 Census, and city officials were required to shift about 900 people to the North Ward to bring the wards in line with federal election law requirements.

Two proposals are being discussed.

• One would extend the North Ward in the eastern end of the city south to take in East Clay and South Frontage Road areas and include Porters Chapel Road, Carlton Place and Highlands subdivision.

The move would affect three voting precincts, Plumbers and Pipefitters on North Frontage Road, Cedar Grove on Elizabeth Circle and Warren Central Junior High School on Baldwin Ferry Road.

• The second would extend the North Ward south in the middle of the city — from the current Bowmar Avenue boundary to Polk Street and west to the Mississippi River.

Two precincts would be affected, No. 7 Fire Station on Washington Street and the American Legion Hall on Monroe Street.