Saturday, May 18, 2024

What is the Ward Redistricting project?

The goal of ward redistricting is to ensure compliance with the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Equal Protection Clause). 

The City of Osceola ward boundaries must be updated to ensure equalized City Council representation. Using recently released 2020 Census data, existing ward boundaries will be redrawn to reflect population changes within the City since the last boundary update.

The fundamental building block of redistricting is the U.S. Census Block. Census blocks are the smallest geographical area for which the U.S. Census collects and tabulates decennial census data. Census blocks can be bounded by man-made or natural features, and they are not uniform in size, shape, or population counts. 

Similar redistricting efforts are taking place across the state and country as a result of 2020 Census data. This includes congressional districts, State House and Senate districts, school districts and more. 

Why is it important?

In the past 2 years, Osceola's population has increased. The City's three wards have experienced different levels of development and residential shifts during this time. This creates possible imbalances in population counts across the wards. Redistricting based on the latest Census data helps the City make sure the number of residents in each ward are approximately the same, so that ward representation is equal across the City. 

Timeline and Next Steps:

  • Under A.C.A. 14-43-311 for Cities of the First Class, the authority to redistrict wards rests with the City Council. 
  • The pre-pandemic 2020 decennial Census release was originally set for April 1, 2021. Because of COVID-19, the release of final files was delayed until September 16, 2021. 
  • Mayor Wilson and the City Attorney began working on this project September 2021, once Census Block summary files were released. Mayor Wilson asked the state office of GIS to research the ward populations, determine if a redistricting is in order and if so, prepare a map with proposed changes and a Resolution for the City to consider.  
  • During the April 18, 2022, City Council Meeting, this GIS information was presented in the City Council meeting packet including a recommended plan for redrawing ward boundaries was shared for consideration. This recommendation is expected to come before Council for consideration and public comment on May 12, 2022, 5:00 at a public hearing at Osceola City Hall.   
  • The new district plan must be approved and submitted to the Mississippi County Clerk as soon as possible to allow time for the clerk's office to make changes to their records before the November General election.   Engage2020 Redistricting

Ward Boundaries Map:

Click here to view a map of the two proposed ward boundaries based on 2020 Census data.

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