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County supervisors investigate redrawing of districts

Grace Karpa, Sun News Service

NEVADA CITY – In preparation for a May 15 workshop on redistricting, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors directed staff Tuesday toward options for redrawing the county’s supervisorial districts.

The purpose of redistricting is to balance populations in each district based on new U.S. Census numbers, assistant county administrator Rick Haffey said.

The county’s population grew from 78,510 in 1990 to more than 92,000 in 2000.

State law requires that county district boundaries be redrawn every 10 years in order to balance the populations in each district based on new census numbers.

Districts must be balanced to ensure fair and equal representation and even distribution of revenues.

Redistricting is based on census data and overall populations, not the numbers of registered voters. In establishing new boundaries, state law allows counties to consider topography and geology, cohesiveness, contiguity and compactness of territory, community interest within districts and equality of size.

Based on the census numbers, Haffey said, boundaries should be shifted to include close to 18,406 people in each district.

Diana Carolan of the county’s Information Systems Department said estimated current populations in the county’s five supervisorial districts are 19,098; 17,622; 17,654; 18,178 and 21,788 in Districts 1 through 5, respectively.

Haffey said the county has received a request from Grass Valley for a district of its own that encompasses the city limits as well as its sphere of influence – areas targeted for eventual annexation into the city.

A citizen has also requested that Truckee have its own district, Haffey said.

Haffey said requests also have been heard to keep communities and municipal facilities in one district.

Currently, the Alta Sierra community is divided between Districts 1 and 2, and the county airport is split between Districts 1 and 3.

Rough and Ready residents don’t want their community split, and people who live on the San Juan Ridge are concerned they’ll be divided by boundary changes in District 5 – which experienced the largest influx of growth in the county, said board Chairwoman Elizabeth Martin, who represents District 4, which encompasses Penn Valley.

Using new computer software, Haffey and Carolan will put together various options and scenarios and bring them back for the supervisors’ approval on May 15.

Following the workshop, a public hearing will be set for a later date to adopt the new boundaries.

For more information, call (530) 265-1480.


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