Redistricting changes raise concerns with Butte residents


POSTED: 9:05 AM Oct 30 2012
Butte Redistricting
BUTTE, Mont. -

The Montana Redistricting Commission will be holding a public hearing on November 15 regarding Silver Bow County and its future redistricting.

"Instead of allowing us to figure out a way to sustain Butte's four legislative districts in the long-term, Butte's been kind of cut up.  We're going to only have three main districts," said Jon Sesso, County Planning Director.

Population and growth numbers keep going down.  As a result, Silver Bow County failed to meet state law requirements of maintaining 10 percent in population growth.

Failure to meet this requirement means the county will be redistricted.

"The redistricting, as we all know, is something that comes by every ten years and we have to look at that.  So it's something that's happening at the state level.  But from the community standpoint, that's where we're well served by our legislators and by the committee, to make sure we don't lose that representation," said Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive Paul Babb

A total of five plans were drafted by different groups of city officials and submitted for proposal to the commission.

The redistricting commission made the final decision to accept none of the submitted plans, but to adopt a different plan entirely -- a plan the commission feels integrates all five of the original plans.

If that plan is finalized 2,224 Butte-Silver Bow voters will be represented by District 80, which includes Anaconda and Deer Lodge.

Nine percent of Butte-Silver Bow voters will be represented out of Madison County.  About 890 voters in southwest Butte will go to Beaverhead County.

"Four thousand people in our county are going to be voting in areas that are far away from the central business and the core of activity in our community," added Sesso.

The public hearing will take place at the state capitol building in room 303 on November 15 at 6:30 p.m.