Does Biloxi need new ward lines again?

Biloxi Councilman George Lawrence
Biloxi Councilman George Lawrence

At least one council member doesn’t think Biloxi should go through a redistricting and change ward lines again before the municipal election in May.

The redistricting aims to evenly divide the wards after 437 people are added in the newest annexation area of the city. Councilman George Lawrence, who said he’s run in four elections with four different ward lines, said he doesn’t think the residents want redistricting, either.

“I think we’re abusing them,” he said Tuesday. He suggested dividing the new residents between Wards 6 and 7 and waiting until the 2020 Census to redistrict.

A first meeting to see the proposed ward changes will be hosted by Councilman Felix Gines at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Frank Gruich Community Center, 591 Howard Ave. A public hearing is planned for Nov. 22.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council:

▪ Approved rezoning of land north of U.S. 90 and Margaritaville Resort Biloxi for family entertainment. Barrington Development is in negotiations with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann on leasing the land south of U.S. 90 for a resort and amusement park. The developer also plans an extended-stay hotel on the rezoned land.

▪ Voted in favor of borrowing $7 million in general obligation bonds to fund various unnamed projects without a tax increase.

▪ Stated the city’s intent to put new fire stations in Wards 6 and 7.