BISBEE — The county Redistricting Advisory Commission listened to the comments made at the public hearings and voted to retain the existing supervisors’ district boundaries and recommended approval to the Board of Supervisors during a meeting Friday.
Though Commissioner Rachel Gray tried one last attempt to sway the vote to Scenario 1 which would add Fort Huachuca and the west end of Sierra Vista to District 1, add a portion of eastern Sierra Vista to District 3 and add areas south of the fort to District 2 and would also cause the county to create more precincts, the commissioners did not change their views from past meetings and voted to recommend leaving the boundaries as they are.
Gray did point out the fort is within the city limits, is the largest economic engine in the county and brings in some $2.9 billion. She believed the military personnel on the fort deserved to be represented by the District 1 supervisor.
“We talk about communities of interest and we want to give everyone a voice, but no one’s getting the big picture,” she said. “We’re disenfranchising people in the west end of Sierra Vista.”
Commissioner Yvonne Mayer stated, “Rachel is here to represent Sierra Vista. We are here to serve all the people in the county. The districts meet all the requirements now, and we don’t have to make any changes. There are reasons to change them, but the problems the change makes will create more ill will. I’m glad we went through the process.”
Commissioner Tim Bowlby, vice mayor of Willcox, noted, “This process brought to light some issues. But there is no good scenario to change boundaries.”
His constituents are concerned the fort could sway votes away from the interests of the northern portion of the county. He also pointed out the Hereford area is experiencing some growth and have different mindsets.
Gray was the sole “Nay” vote to leave the boundaries as they are.
The commissioners also approved maintaining the existing boundaries for Cochise College, justices of the peace and voting precincts.
The RAC recommendation of approval for the continuation of the existing boundaries will be discussed and acted upon at the Nov. 30 meeting of the Board of Supervisors.