By Tom Travis
The Flint city council and community members have 90 days to discuss and review the city’s redrawn ward boundaries, according to City Attorney Angela Wheeler. The city council will give final approval to the new boundaries.
The city’s nine wards are being redrawn based on new Census 2020 data and as required by the city’s charter. At a Tuesday evening special city council meeting held in the Dome behind city hall, the public and city council members had an initial opportunity to view the map of the proposed redrawn ward boundaries and offer their input. There was only one item on the agenda for the meeting and that was to review the map of the redrawn ward boundaries. Wheeler said due to the ; pandemic, the redrawing had been delayed.Flint Wards
Each of Flint’s nine wards is represented by one councilperson. The city’s charter requires that the wards be “contiguous, compact and as nearly of equal population as is practicable.”
All nine councilpersons were present for the meeting, along with Wheeler, City Clerk Inez Brown, Genesee County Commissioner Bryant “B.B.” Nolan, a few members of the public, member of the press, and other city staff.
The public can share their comments and suggestions with by mail or email. Comments can be mailed to City Clerk Inez Brown, Second Floor, 1101 South Saginaw Street, Flint MI 48502 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. No future meetings to cover this issue have been announced at this time.
Click here to view city’s charter.
Eric Mays (Ward 1) office (810) 766-7418, ext. 3160 and cell (810) 922-4860, (no email is given)
Ladel Lewis (Ward 2) office (810) 766-7418, ext. 3162, email: email@example.com
Quincy Murphy (Ward 3) office (810) 766-7418, ext. 3161, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy Priestley (Ward 4) office (810) 766-7418, ext. 3164, email: email@example.com
Jerri Winfrey-Carter (Ward 5) office (810) 766-7418, ext.3167, cell: (810) 397-3621 (no email is given)
Tonya Burns (Ward 6) office (810)766-7418, ext.3165, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Allie Herkenroder (Ward 7) office (810) 766-7418, ext.3163, email: email@example.com
Dennis Pfeiffer (Ward 8) office (810) 766-7418, ext.3159, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eva Worthing (Ward 9) office (810) 766-7418, ext.3158, cell: (810) 210-8347
According to the charter, the population of any wards cannot vary by more than one percent from that of any other ward, based upon the most recent official U.S. census (charter section 2-202(D)).
9,028 is the target population for redrawn ward boundaries
Ken Koleda, director of the Genesee County Geographic Information System (GIS), has led the process of calculating and redrawing the ward boundaries based on 2020 Census data. The target population for each ward is 9,028, explained Koleda. According to a 54-page 2017 ward profile report from UM-Flint the ward populations ranged from 9,660 in Ward 3 as the lowest in population to 13,302 in Ward 8 as the highest in population.
However, to get each of the nine wards’ population within one per cent of 9,028, the boundaries must be redrawn. The recent 2020 Census reported that Flint lost 20,000 in population over the last ten years, plummeting to 81,000. This is a 21 per cent decrease and the lowest population for Flint since the 1910 census.
Koleda provided a population summary report he used to complete the redrawing of the city’s new ward boundaries, seen below. The various ward populations are inserted into a software program called Esri Redistricting used by Genesee County GIS that calculates where the boundaries need to be placed for the population to be within one per cent of the 9,028 target population.Population Summary Report 2
Koleda added that some of the biggest changes in the ward boundaries are the northern sections of the city where the population decreased significantly.
Genesee County GIS provided the City of Flint with an estimate for the conducting the ward boundary redrawing project that included $9,600 for labor and $2,250 for the software license, according to Koleda. “This was projected on the time that was spent on this [redrawing ward boundaries] ten years ago,” explained Koleda.
“At that time there were 27 meetings plus work performed in preparation for meetings, working and final map production and hardcopy and digital formats. That also included redrawing the voting precincts which I believe was the majority of the meeting time.
“This round will also be able to provide the ‘metes and bounds’ [boundaries of a parcel of real estate that are identified by its natural landmarks] written description that the State requires, which is pretty labor intensive,” said Koleda.
When will new ward boundaries take effect?
City Attorney, Angela Wheeler explained in an email to EVM that for elections beginning in August of 2022, the new boundaries approved by the City Council will identify what the ward boundaries are going forward.
This means that the new ward boundaries will impact the 2026 election and which ward voters can vote in. Once the boundaries are redrawn, it is likely the Council representative could change.
EVM Managing Editor Tom Travis can be reached at email@example.com