Commissioner District Boundary Update Project
Project Summary (Project No. A2116)
The Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District is a special purpose district authorized under Title 57 Revised Code of Washington (RCW). The District is governed by five (5) commissioners who set the policies and rates of the District. The District is divided into five distinct commissioner districts; each represented by a resident elected from that commissioner district to serve a six-year term of office.
Redistricting is the process of redrawing district boundaries to adjust for population changes that occurred in the last decade. Every 10 years, District staff go through the redistricting process to create commissioner districts that are relatively equal in population to ensure all residents of the District have access to fair representation. Per RCW 29A.76.010(3), the District is required to “prepare a plan for redistricting its internal or director districts” within eight months of receipt of the federal decennial census data. However, a number of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, delayed the U.S. Census Bureau’s release of population data specific to the District (data was originally scheduled to be released in Spring 2021). As a result, this project was delayed until the District received the necessary population data in Fall 2021.
The District contracted FLO Analytics (FLO) to assist in completing the redistricting process within the statutory deadlines and requirements.
Task 1—Data Collection
FLO collected and compiled all data required to perform the demographic services. This included the 2020 TIGER/Line shapefiles for Census tract, block group and block geographies, the 2020 P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data shapefiles, and the 2020 P.L. 171 Redistrict Data summary files. FLO also collected data related to communities of interest within the District, as reported by District staff and the public, via a public comment period.
The data and other information identified during the project were loaded into FLO’s demographic analysis and mapping tools, and compiled into a geodatabase.
Task 2—Redistricting Analysis
FLO developed three initial commissioner district boundary options for review by the District. This included development of option maps that comply with state, local, and federal legal requirements and consider any feedback provided by the District and the public. Each initial option map included accompanying demographic tables and a brief narrative description of the scenario.
Task 3—Options Review Meeting
FLO provided virtual presentations to the Board of Commissioners and public during a regularly scheduled meetings of the Board on February 23 and March 9, 2022, to review the initial commissioner district boundary option maps. During the meetings, the Board and public was provided the opportunity to suggest changes to the boundary options. FLO then made any suggested boundary changes during the meetings and recalculated population and other metrics to ensure the changes comply with state and federal laws.
Task 4—Finalize New Commissioner District Boundaries
FLO delivered copies of the accepted commissioner district boundaries to the District, which was approved by the Board via adoption of Resolution No. 882 during its March 30, 2022 meeting. Additionally, FLO provided the District with a link to a public-facing map of the new commissioner district boundaries. Following project completion, the information was submitted to the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office for incorporation into future election processes.
- Task 1—Data Collection—completed December 2021
- Task 2—Redistricting Analysis—completed January-February 2022
- Task 3—Options Review Meeting—February-March 2022
- Task 4—Finalize New Commissioner District Boundaries— Adopted at the the March 30, 2022 Board meeting via Resolution 882
The total project cost was $5,000.