Woodbury to be represented by 3 county commissionersWashington County Commissioners reversed course on redistricting Tuesday, approving a plan that splits Woodbury among three districts one week after agreeing in principle to a plan that would have kept the county's largest city divided between just two commissioners.
By: Jon Avise, Woodbury Bulletin
Washington County Commissioners reversed course on redistricting Tuesday, approving a plan that splits Woodbury among three districts one week after agreeing in principle to a plan that would have kept the county's largest city divided between just two commissioners.
The redrawn commissioner district maps, OK'd by a split 4-1 vote following a lengthy debate by the County Board on Tuesday in Stillwater, sets up a possible fall matchup between two current Board members by placing District 2 Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek in the same new-look District 5 as incumbent Lisa Weik.
District 4 Commissioner Autumn Lehrke will now also represent a portion of Woodbury, picking up a district in the southwest corner of the city. She won't have to run for re-election in the fall under the new boundaries because her new district population didn't change enough to force the seat onto November's ballot.
Pulkrabek -- formerly of Oakdale, now a Woodbury resident -- said in an interview after the vote in which he cast the lone dissenting vote that he had not decided whether to run in District 2 or 5.
But, he said: "I'm seriously considering running against Commissioner Weik in District 5."
The filing period for county commissioner candidates closes June 5.
The Board approved a redistricting option that didn't even exist when its five members met last week to sort out which new map best met a list of guiding principles they set last month. Commissioners tossed aside an option that had been favored after last week's workshop that would have kept the Woodbury districts largely the same, carving roughly three-fourths of it into Weik's District 5, the remaining into District 2.
Instead, four commissioners backed a plan that swaps thousands of voters in the city from District 2 to 5 following a Woodbury City Council workshop last week where city officials said they preferred three representatives on the Board to account for projected growth in the next decade.
Weik's position shifted most noticeably. Early last week she declared her opposition to adding a third commissioner to Woodbury and said she felt swapping northeast and northwest Woodbury precincts between commissioner districts could confuse voters. On Tuesday, she called anxieties over three of five County Board members representing at least a portion of Woodbury "a phantom concern."
"We need to be nimble and react to new information," she said of negative input from local officials in Woodbury, Afton and Scandia toward the plan backed by the Board last week.