Four Carlsbad City Council wards should stay in-tact for the next 10 years despite an increased population based on the 2020 Decennial Census.
Councilors voted to keep the status quo Tuesday night weeks after Rod Adair with New Mexico Demographics presented three redistricting options for the wards based on population changes noted in the 2020 Census.
Carlsbad’s population increased in 2020 to 32,238 from 26,138 documented in 2010, stated figures from the U.S. Census.
City of Carlsbad Attorney Denise Madrid Boyea said New Mexico State law required possible redrawing of City Council wards based on information from the 2020 Census.
“A local public body shall establish districts in which the number of persons in each district as shown in the most recent federal decennial census is as nearly equal in population as practical but within 5 percent of the mean,” she wrote in a memo to councilors.
“In a couple of wards two councilors live a long way away from each other in the same wards,” Adair said of the map which presented the least change.
Ward 3 City Councilor Karla Niemeier expected more discussion on the redistricting options.
“I had decided (plan) A was the way to go,” she said. “My ward is so centralized. It expands to a portion I really felt like should have been in my district because when I was campaigning it cutoff in a funky place,” she said.
Adair said a compacted population, the second redistrict option, was a difficult achievement in most New Mexico cities, including Carlsbad.
“You have huge gaps in between city property and then you have islands of wilderness in Carlsbad where it doesn’t belong to the City but things in and around it do,” he said.
The final alternative presented by Adair was a “perfect plan.” He said the council wards, under that map, would have created an equal power representation among the City Council seats because it was based solely on population, but would have created a map with “jagged city blocks.”
“When you do that you have odd looking wards,” Adair said. “You have jagged city blocks that stick out here and there because the only consideration they are using is to make all populations exactly the same.”
Madrid Boyea said councilors have to adopt an ordinance making the map official. No timetable was set at Tuesday’s meeting for confirmation of the map into City of Carlsbad records.