By Tom Travis
The Flint Election Commission has announced a meeting regarding the redrawing of city ward boundaries (redistricting) for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16. The meeting will be held in City Council Chambers on the 3rd floor of City Hall, 1101 South Saginaw St.
Flint’s Elections Commission is made up of City Clerk Inez Brown, City Assessor Stacey Kaake and Assistant City Attorney JoAnne Gurley.
A document detailing five proposed maps for the city’s nine wards has been released. The six-page document can be viewed here and downloaded.
The city’s nine wards are being redrawn based on new Census 2020 data and as required by the city’s charter. In a December, 2021, special city council meeting held in the Dome, behind city hall, the public and city council had an opportunity to view the map of the proposed redrawn ward boundaries and offer their input.
The public can still share their comments and suggestions 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.
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.
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.
[Attorney Wheeler announced in Jan. 2022 her resignation which was effective Feb. 11. She is leaving to take a position as Democrat legal counsel for the Michigan House of Representatives.]
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