No citizens and only two council members, Mary Perry and Jesse Palmer, were present as Meridian's updated district maps were put on display.
Don Farrar, who heads the city's Community Development Department explained the changes. "The ideal population, if you took Meridian's population and divided it by five, that would be the ideal population and then there would be zero deviation," said Farrar. "But that is not possible to get the exact amount. From the district with the smallest total population to the largest you cannot have a deviation of more that 10 percent."
Zero deviation would have each ward with 7,994 residents. But under this plan as drawn, Ward Two would be the largest with a population slightly more than eighty two hundred. Ward four would be the smallest with seventy four hundred.
"The plan that's under consideration by the council and being asked for input by the public only involves eight city blocks and it only involves two districts," said Farrar. Four of the five wards would be majority black if this map is adopted by the council.
Even if approved, the process would have to be done again if the city succeeds in its annexation effort. "Two items require the city to redistrict, annexation and a U.S. census," Farrar said. "The city would have to redistrict to include the annexation area."