Washington County Board sets new commissioner districts.
The city of Scandia will remain in the First District next year following action by the Washington County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday in Stillwater.
That means that Commissioner Dennis Hegberg of Forest Lake will continue to represent the northernmost areas of the county.
The decision trumps an earlier proposal for new commissioner districts that would have created a district along the St. Croix River from the southern boundary to the northern boundary of the county.
The Scandia City Council went on record last week with a resolution to the county board asking to remain in the First District, a position which Hegberg supported.
“That changed the whole ball game,” Hegberg said on Tuesday, commenting on the action by the Scandia City Council.
By law following the 10-year federal census, new commissioner districts must be established which take population into consideration. The redistricting decision moves each of the five districts close to the ideal of district population of 47,627.
With the action on Tuesday, Hegberg’s new First District has population of 47,674, 47 more than the ideal number.
But there were trade offs involved in the near three-hour debate by commissioners on Tuesday. Hegberg said early Tuesday there was some possibility the decision would be laid over for more discussion at a special meeting on Friday, but the action to proceed followed more discussion.
District 1 will keep the northern regions of the county that Hegberg has represented for more than 20 years.
That means Forest Lake, Scandia, Hugo, Marine on St. Croix and May Township remain in the First District. On the western border of the county, the First District will extend south to include the city of Grant, Dellwood and part of Mahtomedi.
In the compromise, the First District will lose the portion of White Bear Lake that is in Washington County, Birchwood Village, Willernie, Pine Springs and a part of Mahtomedi.
The compromise also means that three commissioner districts — districts 2, 4 and 5 — will extend in parts of the rapidly growing Woodbury area.
The redistricting move also sets the stage for county board elections this fall and in 2014.
Under the plan, districts 1, 2, 3 and 5 will all be on the ballot this November. All but District 2 will be for four-year terms. Two years now from District 2 and District 4 will be on the ballot for four-year terms. District 4 will not see an election this fall.
Hegberg said he was pleased with the outcome of the redistricting decision. The population numbers are good, he said, and the commonality of interests from the communities within the district remain another strong selling point.