PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Panama City Beach is one of the fastest-growing areas in the Panhandle.

All those new residents mean fluctuations in population within the city limits. Council members said those changes require redrawing the boundaries for the city’s four political wards.

Panama City Beach’s population currently sits at around 18,000 people. That should average about 4,500 people in each of the city’s four political wards. But it doesn’t always work out that way.

“We’ve seen big growth in certain wards. So, we want to make sure all words have equal representation,” Panama City Beach Mayor Mark Sheldon said.

The Breakfast Point area and Ward 1 currently have more than 6,200 residents. That’s nearly twice as many as Wards 2 and 3. Ward 4 is right at 4,500, which city officials said is the average.

Council members heard the first reading of the ordinance Thursday that will redraw those ward boundaries based on 2020 census numbers.

Under the new proposed map, most residents would be located in Ward 2, at 4,586 residents. Ward 3 would be the smallest with 4,482 residents.

Council members will have to approve the second reading of the ordinance to move forward with redistricting.

“After our next meeting, if it’s approved, it’ll take effect then,” Sheldon said.

If approved, the new districts will impact which wards candidates will run for in the April municipal elections.