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Commissioners tentatively agree on redistricting five areas

Staff writer

County commissioners tentatively agreed to a redistricting plan creating five commission districts Monday, but did not take formal action to approve the plan until after they hear from the public.

Two new commissioners will be needed for the unassigned districts.

Commission chairman Dianne Novak produced the proposal and said she met with Marion and Hillsboro administrators to make sure they are happy with the recommendation.

Marion mayor Todd Heitschmidt, however, said different. The map divides both Marion and Hillsboro into two separate districts.

“I think all of us are concerned about the island part with the north half of Marion,” Heitschmidt said. “Roger (Holter, city administrator) is trying to get a consensus of what the council members think. We’re looking at it. To me, leaving an island out there doesn’t make sense. I think the commission members should think about what will be least likely to cause a lawsuit.”

Heitschmidt said Marion authorities want to see fair representation, and he questions whether the proposal provides that.

Commissioner Kent Becker said Hillsboro authorities approve the proposal.

“I spoke with the Hillsboro administration and they are OK with it,” Becker said.

Anthony Roy, economic development director for Hillsboro, told commissioners he agrees that the city is satisfied with Novak’s proposal.

Florence city council member Traycee Warner also voiced approval of the proposal during the meeting.

“I think this makes the most sense of the three proposals I’ve seen,” Warner said. “The only other thing I have to say is there are a lot of people who are going to say, ‘But Randy’s always been our representative and we want him.”

However, the proposal will need more than simply public comment before it can be approved because it divides one township among two commission districts.

“She has divided Centre north and Centre south, and that is not two voting districts,” county clerk Tina Spencer said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he wants to get the proposal out to the public and hear their comments before voting on it.

The proposed plan divides the county into these five districts:

  • District 1, assigned to Kent Becker: Logan, Blaine, Moore, Durham Park, and Risley townships with the east half of Hillsboro. Population according to 2010 census: 2,571.
  • District 2, assigned to Dianne Novak: Colfax, Lost Springs, Clark, Clear Creek, Gale, and northern Centre townships including a north portion of the city of Marion. Population: 2,597.
  • District 3, assigned to Randy Dallke: West Branch, East Branch, Catlin, and Peabody townships. Population: 2,713.
  • District 4, unassigned: Lehigh, Menno, Liberty, and Wilson townships with the west half of Hillsboro. Population: 2,415.
  • District 5, unassigned: Grant North, Grant South, Doyle, Milton, south Centre, Fairplay, and Summit townships, and a south portion of the city of Marion. Population: 2,364.

In other business, commissioners listened to a pay plan review by McGrath Human Resources Group that recommended increases for employees; listened to Road and Bridge supervisor Jesse Hamm discuss options for purchase of road rock; considered helping emergency medical technician Kevin Marler pay education tuition and expenses but made no decision; and voted to accept a bid for a new transfer station contingent on to-be-determined changes because the original bids came in higher than anticipated.

Last modified Dec. 13, 2018

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