Every 10 years, special districts in California are required by law to adjust their division boundaries to reflect population shifts recorded in the most recent federal decennial census. These changes must be done in accordance with federal law and give consideration to the following factors:
(1)topography, (2) geography, (3) cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, and compactness of territory, and (4) community of interests of the district.
The Turlock Irrigation District is one of those special districts and has begun the process of redistricting their 5 director division areas.
The first public step in the redistricting process was in the way of a staff report at the TID Board of Directors Meeting held on Tuesday, August 30th.
Three boundary map alternatives were created in house by staff. Staff will handle the entire analysis and new layout of Director Divisions, a process that could cost up to $100,000 if outsourced.
Steve Boyd, Director of Water Services said, "The Census data is presented in map form that we are able to match up with current district lines to calculate the population and see where adjustments need to be made."
The alternatives ranged from small geographic changes in areas of larger population density to large geographic changes in areas with lower density with the goal of creating a plus or minus 2% difference between each district.
The population within the TID boundaries has grown from 165,936 in 2001 to 197,619 in 2010. This brings the current average population for each division to 39,523.
As the boundaries lie, Area 1 is +4.15%, Area 2 is +2.15%, Area 3 is -4.25%, Area 4 is +5.44% and Area 5 is -7.87%. This large of an above and below average population creates an unequal voting bloc that does not provide each citizen with equal representation.
TID Director Charles Fernandes preferred plan 1 because he felt it best represented the fact that it’s an irrigation district that sells to farmers.
"When you look at the others, especially (plan) 3, the district (Fernandes’ district) becomes so small that the bulk of it is residential," said Fernandes. “If you’re asking for an opinion, I would prefer plan 1.”
TID Director Joe Alamo was in agreement stating, "Out of these three, I prefer plan 1 as well because the district remains geographically closer to each other."
“I think with plan 1, it’s less dramatic than plan 3,” stated TID President Rob Santos.
TID Director Michael Frantz had concern with plans that used Sante Fe Avenue as a boundary that split the city of Hughson, which plan 3 does not.
Director Santos pointed out that both Turlock and Ceres have Director Division splits already.
While the presentation made by staff was the first step in the redistricting process, there will be more opportunity for public comment and TID Board discussion.
The boundary map alternatives will be posted on TID’s website for public review. Additional alternatives may be developed based on the feedback provided at this first meeting. The TID Board and TID Staff are interested in any public input from now until the decision is made.
The TID Board of Directors is expecting this issue to come before them as an action item in late October. A resolution must be made by December 2011.
Once the new division boundaries are adopted by resolution they will be distributed to the County Registrar of Voters to go into effect during the 2013 election.