Do you pay much attention to county government? Do you know who your county commissioner is? Or what the staff does? Did you know that US Census data also affects county district boundaries like it does congressional and legislative representation? If you don’t pay much attention, then it might not be a big deal that at a Monday morning Oklahoma County Commission meeting, a redistricting map is expected to reveal that county representation and service for Luther, Jones and surrounding unincorporated areas are going to change.
Those who follow county government are concerned about two things:
- the redistricting map cuts Luther and Jones out of Oklahoma County District One
- the process has been cloaked in secrecy.
Concerned area residents are rearranging schedules and taking time off of work to attend the 9 am meeting in downtown Oklahoma City.
As part of Oklahoma County District One, led by Commissioner Carrie Blumert, Luther has received more than $2.75 million in projects since 2018 that range from pothole repair to snow and ice removal. In addition, the county provides equipment for fire fighting, assists the school district and town on special projects like mowing, parking lot striping and surfacing, mowing, erosion control, drainage and playground improvements.
One particular project we remember is the repaving of Triple X Road between Route 66 and Hogback Road following a rare collaboration with the City of Oklahoma City, the Town of Luther and the county.
Although the redistricting map has not been made public, The Luther Register has learned that Luther and Jones and the surrounding area will be pulled from District One and would be part of District Three.
It is unknown how District Three aids smaller communities with most of its population and road miles in affluent Edmond and Deer Creek. Current District Three Commissioner Kevin Calvey led the charge back in June to let legislative staff, rather than county staff, conduct the redistricting process as part of the 2020 United States Census. Commissioner Blumert voted against the proposal saying county staff was well-qualified for the task and could do it transparently and inclusively.
Read more about that June meeting from Oklahoma City Free Press.
Commissioner Blumert said she is concerned about the proposed map and the process that could affect county governance for the next ten years.
“I’m ready for the public to see it. The public deserves input because their community and tax money is affected. I hope all three commissioners are as fair as possible to all three districts.”District One County Commissioner Carrie Blumert
The Oklahoma Legislature will meet in a special session beginning Nov. 15 to consider redistricting that is expected to give eastern Oklahoma County brand new House and Senate seats.
However, the difference between the state and county redistricting process is legislative leaders held public meetings and published proposed maps throughout the process. The county has not.
The county redistricting item finally appeared on the Nov. 15 agenda for the Board of County Commission meeting tucked between an employee’s recognition and a resolution about diabetes awareness. “Discussion and possible action regarding the redistricting of Oklahoma County and the boundaries of each Oklahoma County Commissioner’s District based on the 2020 Federal Census including presentation from redistricting staff.”
The commissioners are expected to vote on the redistricting map at a Special Meeting scheduled for Thursday.
The Board of County Commissioners, created by the State Constitution, is composed of three Commissioners elected by the people. The County is divided into three districts, as equal in population as possible and numbered 1, 2, and 3 respectively. One Commissioner is elected from each district. District boundaries are set once every 10 years following the federal census.https://www.oklahomacounty.org/Elected-Offices/Commissioners
Great reporting Dawn. Thank you for shining a light on our elected officials.