New ward lines approved by Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen

Published 1:30 pm Monday, March 7, 2022

Vicksburg’s new ward lines for municipal elections are now set in stone.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday voted 3-0 to approve a resolution setting the new ward lines and authorizing City Attorney Kim Nailor to amend the city’s Code of Ordinances to reflect the change.

The resolution also changes the names of the wards from the North Ward to Ward 1 and the South Ward to Ward 2. The vote follows a public hearing on the changes Friday evening, attended by about 20 people.

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“We had the public hearing (and) there were absolutely no questions or comments about the ordinance,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.

The big change under the redistricting plan is the Ward 1 boundary, which stretches south to the north side of Interstate 20 and is bounded on the west by the Mississippi River and on the east by Wisconsin Avenue.

The boundary moves north along Wisconsin Avenue and then goes back west to a section of Halls Ferry Road, taking in Ken Karyl Avenue, Royal Street, Military Street, James E. Sturgis Sr. Street and Lane Street before meeting with Cherry Street.

A section of Ward 2 includes an area that was formerly in Ward 1: Chambers Street, part of Baum Street, Vicklan Street, Eisenhower Street, part of East Avenue, Edna Street and Baum Street.

Local and state governments are required to redistrict ward or district lines every 10 years if Census figures indicate a population deviation of more than 10 percent in the total population between the wards compared to an ideal, or equal, population to maintain federal one man, one vote requirements.

The board first discussed redistricting in October. The changes will go into effect after 30 days.

According to the redistricting report received in October from Slaughter & Associates of Oxford, the city’s redistricting consultant, the 2020 Census puts Vicksburg’s population at 21,573, or 2,283 less than the 2010 Census total of 23,856. The present population of the North Ward is 10,176, while the South Ward’s population is 11,391.

According to the consult’s benchmark plan, Vicksburg is 67.2 black and 28.2 percent white and the majority of the black population lives in Ward 1.

“The North Ward (Ward 1) is 5.6 percent below the ideal population of 10,784 and the South Ward (Ward 2) is 5.6 above,” consultant Mike Slaughter told the board in October. “When you add those two together, you get (about) 11.3 percent deviation.”

Because the deviation was above the 10 percent or less difference allowed by federal law, forcing the city to redraw the ward lines.

Under the new plan, the ward lines were drawn so Ward 1 had 10,972 residents and Ward 2, 10,595, creating a deviation of 3.5 percent.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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