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Changing size of county commission on hold

County Attorney Tom Seeley recommended Reapportionment Committee members delay action toward another redistricting until a decision on its legality is reached.
“I think that would be the most prudent step,” Seeley said during the Feb. 4 meeting.
The objective of the redistricting process, required by federal and state law to be conducted every 10 years based on the most recent Census figures, is to ensure county legislative districts are equal in population. In turn, reapportionment refers to the number of elected officials who must represent equal numbers of constituents.
While redistricting is allowed more than once in the 10-year cycle if the county’s population changes and residents no longer have equal representation, Washington County met the standards with the redistricting plan it submitted to the state during 2012.
Commissioners are now seeking to redistrict in an effort to fulfill promises made during the 2014 campaign for election. Reducing the number of elected officials will increase the number of constituents each serves.
Seeley has consulted with the County Technical Assistance Service, which was not aware of another county that had redistricted mid-cycle. “Some counties had talked about it, but they couldn’t get the votes internally (to pursue it),” he said.
In addition, Seeley said the state comptroller’s office is taking a lead role in this area, and Mayor Dan Eldridge has requested a meeting with Justin Wilson.
Commissioner Matthew Morris made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Todd Hensley, to continue to investigate the process for a solid answer on how to proceed.
The motion passed with unanimous approval.
Committee members tentatively scheduled another meeting for March 3, which will be canceled if the question remains unanswered.