Commissioners finalize new districts, keeping them similar to current boundaries
The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved new commissioner districts Tuesday, opting to make as few changes to the current maps as possible.
As laid out, the three districts include one entirely within the city limits of Steamboat Springs and two larger districts covering the rest of the county and parts of Steamboat proper.
Redistricting needed to happen following the 2020 census so that districts have a population within 5% of each other.
“I took the 2010 districts and compared them to the population that came back from the 2020 census,” said Routt County GIS manager Emy Keeling. “We weren’t off by all that much in the previous districts, so I just had to make some minor adjustments to the boundary lines to balance the population out.”
In October, county staff sent residents a survey asking for feedback on two maps created by GIS staff, and results showed residents strongly preferred keeping the map as close to its current districts as possible. Commissioners then directed staff to finalize the map and the legal definitions of the boundaries.
The other map suggested dividing the county by land area and population and would have created three districts of roughly equal size, each containing a similar amount of Steamboat.
Residents and commissioners both worried such a map would make it easier, if not likely, that all three commissioners could come from Steamboat.
Having all three commissioners living in Steamboat will be possible under these new district lines, as it is under the current ones, but that has not typically been the case. Currently, one commissioner is from Steamboat, one from South Routt and one from Hayden.
District boundaries govern where a commissioner can live in the county and not who votes for them. For example, the District 3 seat will be on the ballot in 2022. While the entire county will consider this race in November, candidates for the seat need to live within the district.
District 1, currently held by Commissioner Tim Corrigan, consists primarily in South Routt but includes parts of Steamboat to the west and south of U.S. Highway 40 as it goes through town. It also includes some of the properties close to U.S. 40 south of Walton Creek Road. It has the largest population of the three at 8,294 residents.
District 2, currently held by Commissioner Tim Redmond, consists mostly of West Routt and North Routt. It includes parts of Steamboat north of U.S. 40 and west of 12th Street on the west end of downtown, such as residents living near the Steamboat Springs Airport. This district includes Hayden and the unincorporated town of Milner. The population of District 2 is 8,275 residents.
District 3, currently held by Commissioner Beth Melton, is entirely within Steamboat city limits. It includes most of the city to the north and east of U.S. 40. Much of the district follows city limits closely on the east and north sides. This district is the smallest at 8,260 residents, but it is also the one that grew the fastest over the previous decade.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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