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Board of Aldermen passes resolution for redistricting, appoint redistricting committee

On the heels of the Oxford’s 12-mile annexation last September, the Oxford Board of Alderman passed a resolution establishing criteria in order to redistrict the city’s wards.

These criteria will serve as guidelines for Three Rivers Planning and Development District, a non-profit economic development company based in Pontotoc, which has been employed to help devise a redistricting plan.

The Aldermen also approved a list of names that were appointed to be on a redistricting committee.

The unanimously passed criterion seeks to make redistricting as compact as possible and specifically noted to ensure fair and effective representation of all minority groups in and around the city.

“Annexation by the City of Oxford has been completed and the City recognizes the need to include its new citizens within existing wards,” the resolution read, “in a manner which shall seek to avoid population deviations in excess of ten percent (10%) among such wards.”

The redistricting plan will also have to fall in line with Voting Rights Act of 1965 and federal court decisions.

In order to completely comply with these criterions, the board also unanimously approved naming of the 12-member redistricting committee. The committee, which will eventually present a recommendation for redistricting to the board, includes two members per each of the six wards.

The committee was also derived in order to fairly and adequately represents minority population for the City of Oxford with the principle of “one person, one vote.”

“All of them have agreed to serve,” City Chief Operating Officer Bart Robinson said. “The last one agreed this afternoon.”

John Byers, Community & Economic Development Director for Three Rivers Planning and Development, said Three Rivers is in preliminary stages of looking at the population of the city.

Most of the work Three Rivers is scheduled to do will take place between now and the month of March, and utilizes mapping programs to help fit where population lines might be placed.

Byer said the entire process taking about four to five months, with a target date of early April for completion.

“That’ll include the mapping and looking at population,” Byer said. “This is pretty much a plain and simple approach.”

A public hearing will be held in either late February or early March in order to explain the details of the proposed redistricting plan.

REDISTRICTING COMMITTEE APPOINTEES

Ward 1: Brenda West, Billy Crews

Ward 2 Lucius Brock, Jeff Byrd

Ward 3: Jason Garrett, Demetrius Woods

Ward 4: Chester Starks, Frank Archie

Ward 5: Margaret Gipson, Nancy Burt

Ward 6: Brad Mayo, Meme Mullin