District boundaries could changed in Douglas County
In response to U.S. Census figures, Douglas County commissioners plan to review three redistricting options at today’s meeting.
By law, each of the five commission districts must be within a 10 percent population margin of the county’s “ideal district,” which consists of 8,252 residents, County Clerk Barbara Reed said.
Because much of the county’s growth over the last 10 years occurred in the Carson Valley, the lake district will have to expand to include valley precincts to meet that 10 percent margin.
“Law requires we keep commissioners within 10 percent of each other,” Reed said. “We will now have to incorporate some of the valley in with the Tahoe area to keep the 10 percent.”
Historically, there has been a commissioner who lived at Tahoe, Reed said.
“From 1978 to 1990 there were two districts at Tahoe; two commissioners who lived at Tahoe and represented Tahoe,” Reed said. ” In 1990, we were able to still keep them whole, guaranteeing them a commissioner. We knew 10 years ago, because it was very borderline then, that at the next Census of 2000, we were going to have to have some of the valley incorporated in.”
There will be maps depicting district boundaries available for viewing at today’s meeting, and Reed encourages Douglas County’s Tahoe Basin residents to attend the public hearing and offer input. The issue will go before commissioners again Nov. 1 and a final decision is expected Dec. 6.
Because commissioners are elected at large, rather than by the district, all five commissioners should be concerned with lake-area issues, Reed said.
Therefore, if the district splits and a basin resident is not elected on the next ballot, the area’s issues will not be ignored.
“It isn’t that there would not be representation for Tahoe,” she said. “There may not be a commissioner who lives at Tahoe, but truly all five commissioners, in theory, should represent the interests of Tahoe as well as their own districts since they are elected at large.”
The Douglas County Board of Commissioners is meeting today at 1:30 p.m. in the courtroom at the Douglas County Administration Building at 175 U.S. Highway 50, across from Kahle Drive.
– Jeff Munson contributed to this report.
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