Courtesy of New Mexico Demographic research
The Los Lunas Village Council is to vote on how the districts will be divided after the 2020 census (proposed map shown above).
LOS LUNAS — The Los Lunas Village Council looks to redraw its boundaries as the population skyrockets in the western areas of the village.
“In the long-term, we need to start looking at Huning Ranch to have a majority of growth in the future,” said Los Lunas Mayor Charles Griego during a Los Lunas Village Council workshop where they discussed redistricting. “… and the same with (Councilor Gino Romero’s) district — District 2 — is going to have the most growth. And (District 4) is not going to be growing much.”
Every 10 years, after the decennial census, every elected board has to reevaluate their district boundaries to account for population changes and even out the number of constituents in each district.
In order to comply with the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, each district must be within 5 percent of the ideal average in each district, which is 4,311 residents in the case of the Los Lunas Village Council.
With the growth of the Huning Ranch neighborhood and the area along Camelot Boulevard, council District 1, represented by Christopher Ortiz, grew by nearly 32 percent. By contrast, the overall population fell in the eastern district — nearly 9 percent in District 3 and about 16 percent in District 4.
New Mexico Demographic Research presented the council with five different options to change the districts as the population has shifted to ensure a similar number of people in each during a workshop on Oct. 18.
The various plans were presented and titled with the redistricting goal of that particular map, such as making the areas as compact as possible, or distributing the population as evenly between the districts as possible. Legally, there only can be a deviation of 5 percent from the ideal average.
“We need to look at keeping the balance as much as possible, keep them all zero,” Griego said, referring to the population deviation from district to district. “Keep them all balanced.”
He recommended Plan C to the council, which would keep a nearly equal proportion of the population in each district, albeit sacrificing some compactness. However, Plan B, which aims to create the most compact was most favored by the council.
After attempting to shift the districts in one of the proposed plans to try to even out the populations while also maintaining neighborhoods and like-areas, the council unofficially agreed to bring Option B to a public discussion and vote during the Nov. 17 council meeting.
Proposed district map
Option B, the map unofficially chosen by the village council during its October redistricting workshop, was dubbed the “most compact” by New Mexico Demographic Research within the restraints of the village boundaries and census blocks.
While compactness is generally subjective, it is seen as contiguous areas with little to no contorted boundaries and limited dispersion. Census blocks, statistical areas created to count populations, are typically bounded by roads, drainage ditches and property lines, and limit the compactness of any proposed redistricting map.
The proposed map has District 3 as the largest in population at about 4.2 percent above the ideal mean, however smallest in geographical area at a little over a square mile in area.
People generally residing east of Camino del Rey, south of Main Street and east of N.M. 314 live in council District 3 under the proposed map.
District 2 lies north of Main Street and N.M. 6, extending west to encompass the nearly population-less areas west of Interstate 25. On its eastern boundary is N.M. 314, Calle Don Santiago and Cinder lane, extending to the village line.
The smallest district — District 4 — holds the eastern-most parts of the village, extending past the Valencia Y along N.M. 47, and generally the area east of N.M. 314 and south of Main Street.
District 1 sits in the area south of N.M. 6 and west of I-25, holding the Huning Ranch and Jubilee neighborhoods. There is a small sliver of land east of I-25, however, bringing in some homes in the neighborhoods along Camelot Boulevard.
A final discussion and vote on the boundary maps, along with a public hearing on the matter, is scheduled for the council meeting at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17 in the village council chambers.