County commissioner districts should remain similar to the current arrangement


The Routt County Board of Commissioners is redrawing their districts and seeking public input on two proposed maps. This is a close-up view of Steamboat Springs in the Commissioner’s preferred option, with District 1 in red, District 2 in yellow, and District 3 in blue.
Routt County / Courtesy Card

Routt County Commissioners Council districts will remain very similar to what they are now, with a smaller area made up mostly of Steamboat Springs and two larger ones filling the rest of the county.

District 1 will continue to constitute much of South Routt County, including parts of the Steamboat town limits west of US Highway 40. District 2 will continue to include West and North Routt, as well as some communities west of Steamboat.

“A commissioner, whether in your district or mine or if you live in the town of Steamboat Springs, you need a majority of all people to vote for you,” said Commissioner Tim Corrigan, s ‘Addressing Commissioner Tim Redmond.

The districts are not yet official, as commissioners will have to pass a resolution in a public hearing, scheduled for December.

Monday almost ends a week-long effort to redraw the lines based on newly collected data from the 2020 US Census. County staff came up with two different potential maps: one that mimicked the current map as closely as possible according to instructions. commissioners and another who tried to balance the size of each district.

The commissioners clearly favored the first option, but they also launched a poll to get feedback from residents. Although only 13 people responded to the survey, 10 of them agreed with the Commissioners that the option closest to the status quo was the best.

Districts do not choose who will vote in the election of commissioners as they do in some large Front Range counties. Instead, the districts are designed to ensure that there is representation from different parts of the county, and that everyone votes for each commissioner, regardless of where voters live in the county of. Routt.

“Everyone has to vote for the three commissioners – I’m comfortable with that,” Redmond said of the first option. “I think this is the best option.”

The biggest complaint of option two among the survey takers was that each of the commissioners could live in Steamboat, as about a third of the city was in each district.

“In option two, the remote possibility that the three commissioners could live within the city limits of Steamboat is untenable and would make rural / ranching areas feel like they have no voice,” one participant said. to the Steamboat survey. “Routt County is not just Steamboat.”

Some feared that three Steamboat commissioners would cause more rural / urban divides.

“If option two is chosen for our commissioner election, it would be a blatant and crass decision to silence all rural voters in the county,” said another District 1 poll participant.

Under the District Commissioners project, each commissioner could still come from within the city limits of Steamboat, although this has generally not happened.

They briefly discussed a theoretical map that ensured that a neighborhood did not contain any part of Steamboat, but that would likely lead to two town commissioners.

“There are 1,000 ways to skin this cat,” said Emy Keeling, GIS manager for Routt County.

The changes from the current map were due to the increased population in Steamboat and the simplification of some of the legal descriptions to use roads rather than other features like coves, Keeling said.

Commissioners did not vote but said they planned to approve the first option.

“It’s hard to think of a compelling reason to do something different,” Corrigan said.

Keeling said she would return to council in December with the final legal descriptions of the districts for approval by the commissioners.

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