City passes resolution adjusting Ward boundaries

A map illustrating the new ward boundaries. (City of Gillette)

With the final vote by the Gillette City Council in the books as of Tuesday, the city’s voting districts, or wards, will look a little different moving forward.

After Dec. 18, when notice is scheduled for publication in the local newspaper, the newly passed resolution to bolster the city’s Ward One population with 1,249 residents from Wards Two and Three will go into effect, according to City Communications Manager Jennifer Toscana.

The resolution essentially moves Ward One’s boundary south to encompass portions of the other two wards, taking 560 residents from Ward Three’s downtown area and 689 residents from Ward Two’s Collins Heights subdivision.

Such a change was necessary, the council felt, to balance out the ward populations after the 2020 census showed that Wards Three and Two had significantly more residents than Ward One.

The adjustment, however, was not entirely necessary with the census showing only a six-percent disparity between Ward One’s population and the other two wards; well below the ten percent threshold that would have required, through state statute, that the city adjust its voting district boundaries.

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Being below that threshold meant that the city could have left the issue alone for the next ten years until the next census, in 2030, showed whether the population growth in southern Gillette held steady as city staff expect.

Doing nothing was an option advocated for by Ward 2 Councilman Tim Carsrud in recent weeks, who during the Dec. 14 work session changed his stance and voted to approve the measure after receiving no word, for or against the measure, from his constituents.

On the resolutions third and final reading, the Gillette City Council voted unanimously to approve changing the city ward boundaries.

The resolution has now been passed on to the county for additional consideration but, as far as the city is concerned, the resolution is done, according to Toscana.

After the resolution goes into effect, Ward One will have 11,124 residents, Ward Two will have 11,276 residents, and Ward Three will have 11,003 residents.