12/12/2012 6:00:00 AM DOJ clears redistricting plan for city
By STEVEN THOMAS Staff Reporter
Some voters will cast ballots in different precincts during the next city election after the Department of Justice granted pre-clearance for a new redistricting map which realigns the wards in the wake of the 2010 census.
Redistricting affected mostly Wards 3 and 4.
The City Clerk's office is in the process of mailing notices of precinct changes to citizens affected by redistricting, the mayor said.
Earlier this month, the city received a letter from the Attorney General on behalf of the Justice Department notifying officials that there were no objections at this time to the redistricting.
"It was a general statement that leaves the door open for possible, future objections," Mayor James A. Young said.
The new precincts will be in effect before the May 7, 2013, party primaries when races for Mayor and Board of Aldermen will be on the ballots, he said.
The new map affects voters mostly Wards 3 and 4, which showed large deviations from the ideal population of 1,843 during the 2010 Census.
Young said he was grateful that so few residents were affected.
"It's a blessing because not everyone was affected," he said.
Under the new map, residents north of Highway 16 west and west of Highway 15 south would move from Ward 3 to Ward 4. This area includes Frog Level Road, Frog Level Lane and Central Drive, among others.
Residents that are north of Wilson Street, but south of Rea Street and west of Pecan Avenue would move from Ward 4 to Ward 3.
Currently, Ward 3's population is 2,069 or 200 more than the ideal while Ward 4's population is 1,536 or 333 less than ideal.
Under redistricting, Ward 4 will see its population increase by 278 while Ward 3 will decrease by 278.
Ward 4's population will increase to 1,814 or 55 less than the idea population while Ward 3 will drop to 1,791 or 78 less than the ideal population.
Ward 4 will have an 86 percent majority black population under the new plan. It is currently 92.5 percent majority black.
In other action, aldermen:
Accepted Puckett Machinery's bid of $95,000 for a bulldozer the city wishes to sell.
Paid LPK Architects $6,237.60 for work on the Northside Park Log Cabin project.
Accepted the $158,988 bid of Puckett Machinery for the purchase/lease of a new bulldozer.
Accepted the resignation of Patrolman 2nd class David Tucker, effective Dec. 13.
Agreed to close Front Avenue at the beginning of Mobile Street to the dead end.