Redistricting will result in changes to Sibley County Commissioner’s Districts | Henderson
Although the 2020 census revealed some population changes in Sibley County, they were not significant enough to require a redistricting of the county’s five commissioner districts. State law requires redistricting if a district’s population varies more than 10% from the average of all districts in a county. The total population has increased from 15,118 ten years ago to 14,836 in 2020; however, district populations remained within 10 percent of the five-district average of 2,967.
There is a different reason why the current districts are being considered for changes. Commissioner districts must be drawn to meet statutory requirements set forth in Minnesota statute 375.025, subd. 1. These requirements include:
- Each county is divided into as many districts as there are members of the council of commissioners (5);
- Commissioner’s districts are bounded by township and city wall lines;
- Commissioners’ districts should be as compact as possible in form;
- District populations cannot vary by more than 10% from the average; and
- Commissioner districts are made up of contiguous territories.
This fifth requirement is where Sibley County is currently failing to meet the letter of the law. In the current configuration of the Sibley County Commissioner‘s Districts, New Auburn Township and Transit Township, both in District 4, only touch at one section corner.
In the opinion of the Minnesota Attorney General, this is not considered contiguous for purposes of redistricting. Minnesota’s secretary of state also offers redistricting guidance stating that “districts consisting of areas that meet at a single point are not considered contiguous.”
Due to the irregular shape of Sibley County and the relatively large populations of the Town of Gaylord surrounded by the Township of Dryden and the Town of Arlington surrounded by the Township of Arlington, there are limited redistricting solutions that will meet all the necessary requirements. The proposed “A” card is one of these solutions.
Want to get involved in the process?
A public hearing will be held into the matter on Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m. in the basement meeting room of the Sibley County Courthouse, located at 400 Court Avenue in Gaylord. Additionally, a more detailed redistricting plan is available from the Sibley County Auditor-Treasurer’s Department located within the courthouse (phone: 507-237-4070, email: [email protected]) or on the county website: www.co.sibley.mn.us.
A final decision on the redrawing of Commissioner’s Districts will be made by Sibley County Commissioners on April 12 at their regular 9 a.m. meeting.