City of New Bern Invites Citizens to Review Redistricting Maps

New Bern Board of Aldermen
Aldermen Barbara Best, Sabrina Bengel, Jameesha Harris, Mayor Dana Outlaw, Aldermen Johnnie Ray Kinsey and Jeffrey Odham. Alderman Robert “Bobby” Aster not pictured. (Photo by New Bern Now)

Census data & city growth lead to redrawing of ward boundaries

The City of New Bern is in the process of redrawing ward boundaries and invites citizens to review drafts of the proposed changes. Redistricting became necessary after data from the 2020 U.S. Census showed unbalanced growth among the city’s wards, a common problem as cities and towns expand.

Updated census information is published by the federal government every ten years. In North Carolina, general statutes require municipalities with “districts” (or wards) from which public officials are elected, to look at population numbers to determine if there are imbalances within those districts. With New Bern’s growth over the last ten years, the city’s wards require adjustment. The goal with redistricting is to proportionately balance the population with consideration given to community contiguity and racial equity.

“New Bern continues to grow, particularly to its northwest and south,” said Mayor Dana Outlaw. “While we welcome that growth, from time to time it means we must redraw our wards. These changes could impact your voice in the next election and your representation within the Governing Board, so we encourage the public to participate in the redistricting process.”

The Board of Aldermen worked with leadership and city staff to create an equitable draft map of proposed changes, with a 10% population differential.  GIS staff designed the map and presented the changes for discussion at the September 14th board meeting.  In the current scenario, every ward will see some change – big or small – and approximately 1,700 people will be affected.

The City of New Bern has created an interactive map for citizens to review these proposed changes.  Visit and hover over “Visitors,” then “City Information,” and then “Informational Maps.”  The draft map is called “2021 New Bern Redistricting.” (Or click here to view the proposed ward changes.)  A survey is included at the bottom of the page for feedback. Printed display maps (and handheld paper copies) are also available for viewing at four locations throughout the City:

  • West New Bern Recreation Center, located at 1225 Pinetree Drive
    • Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Saturday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Customer & Payment Services (CAPS), 606 Ft. Totten Drive
    • Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • City Hall, 300 Pollock Street
    • Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Craven-Pamlico Regional Library, 400 Johnson Street
    • Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    • Sunday, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

A public hearing on the City’s proposed redistricting plan is scheduled for Tuesday, September 28th at 6 p.m. at City Hall during the Board of Aldermen meeting.

Once the public has an opportunity to review and provide feedback on the maps, the Board of Aldermen will vote on a resolution to adopt them. Then, final maps will be drawn and the Craven County Board of Elections will be notified of those changes, as well as all affected registered voters.

By Colleen Roberts, Public Information Officer