The Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners will consider three proposed redistricting maps at a special meeting 11 a.m. Thursday that could change the way county road funds are distributed and relocate an entire city out of its current district.
The county redraws its district boundaries based on U.S. Census Bureau data. According to the most recent map found on the county website, the boundaries were last updated in October 2001.
As one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, Oklahoma County has three county commissioners representing three districts.
District 1’s boundaries currently include the towns of Jones, Luther, Forrest Park, Del City, Midwest City, Spencer and Lake Aluma. It also covers an area stretching from west Oklahoma City to the northeastern part of the city. Carrie Blumert is the current District 1 commissioner, and she is seeking reelection in 2022.
District 2’s boundaries currently include Bethany, Choctaw, Harrah, Nicoma Park, Valley Brook, Warr Acres, Wheatland and Woodlawn Park, along with most of Oklahoma City’s south side. It is currently represented by Brian Maughan, who won reelection in 2020.
District 3’s boundaries currently include Arcadia, Edmond, Nichols Hills, The Village, Warr Acres and parts of northwest Oklahoma City. The district is currently represented by Kevin Calvey, who is foregoing reelection to seek the office of district attorney.
Three proposed maps for Oklahoma County
Each commissioner created their own proposed map, which can be found in Thursday’s meeting agenda.
Kevin Calvey’s proposed map
Brian Maughan’s proposed map
Carrie Blumert’s proposed map
Proposed boundary changes discussed Monday
Blumert said during a meeting of the commissioners on Monday that some of the proposed changes would leave her district with far fewer road miles than the other two districts. She said the way road and bridge maintenance funding works now, each district divides proceeds equally because the number of road miles in each district is roughly the same. Under at least one of the proposed maps, that would change.
“This proposed map gives District 1 (about) 67 road miles, District 2 (about) 159 road miles and District 3 (about) 313 road miles,” she said. “I can assume we’d no longer split up our proceeds each month to take care of roads and bridges. More would go to District 3 and less to District 1. Looking at this map, that’s my biggest concern.”
Under the proposed new boundaries, the populations of each district would remain similar. The populations for the proposed new districts would be 270,751 for District 1, 261,761 for District 2 and 263,780 for District 3.
Maughan, who recently inherited a home from his deceased aunt, requested the lines of his district be redrawn slightly so that the northwest Oklahoma City home, in which he has said he would like to live, would fall inside the district he currently represents.
“I’ve told everybody, so it’s not a matter of a rumor,” Maughan said during Monday’s meeting. “My aunt died this summer, and she left me her home. It’s just on the other side of where the lake is. If the line could be drawn within the district, that’s great. If it can’t, no problem. I can sell the house. There’s nothing being hidden about that. My home is paid for, and I’ve lived there for many years, and I can continue to live there. It’s not a problem. But that’s why the line was drawn up.”
Proposed changes draw candidate’s ire
Cathy Cummings lives in The Village and has announced a campaign for District 3. But under two of the three proposals, The Village would be moved into District 1.
Cummings, who currently sits on The Village City Council and is a past mayor of that city, said she doesn’t like the idea.
“I appreciate Commissioner Blumert wanting to keep The Village in District 3,” she told commissioners during Monday’s meeting. “I absolutely agree with that — that The Village needs to be kept in District 3. We’ve been a member of District 3 for nearly 40 years, and I am running for county commissioner in District 3. However, some of you have mentioned that you have spoken to mayors, city councilmen and city mangers in the municipalities, but I don’t think you have reached out to anyone in The Village to get their opinion. And, if not, would you? I want to reiterate that The Village needs to be in District 3. There’s no reason to change that.”
Official questions numbers, changes
Ray Poland, the mayor of Jones, raised questions about the accuracy of the 2020 U.S. census data. Poland said he believes his city has gained far more than 193 residents in the 10 years since the last census.
“I’m not in favor of change for change’s sake,” he said. “I know the census is not change for change’s sake. It’s done every 10 years. Having said that, I believe the 2020 census is very skewed. The numbers we got from Jones say we gained 193 people in the 2020 (count) over 2010. I know that to be wrong because we’ve built over 250 homes in the last three years. I know our population has grown. The census is not accurate. You can’t trust it for whatever reason they want to say, COVID or what. I don’t believe the census represents Jones as it is.”