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County’s redistricting nears completion

During the Oct. 25 meeting of the Washington County Redistricting Committee, Chairman Greg Matherly shared a letter from the state comptroller’s office about the approaching deadline for the county redistricting plan.
According to the letter, several other processes are affected by the county’s meeting, or not meeting, the Dec. 31 deadline.
After redistricting, the county election commission must adjust or create new voting precincts. The new precincts must also be submitted by Dec. 31.
In addition, the state legislature uses the district and precinct plans to create new state house, state senate, and U.S. congressional districts. This work must be finalized as early as January 2012.
And if the county commission fails to adopt a redistricting plan and a citizen files suit, the chancery court will then complete the redistricting in lieu of the county.
“It really does behoove us to get this done in November,” Commissioner Lee Chase said.
Zoning Administrator Mike Rutherford said his office hopes to have maps for review soon.
“I have talked with commissioners serving areas that are too hard to represent, and may be easier for someone else to serve,” Rutherford said.
County Attorney John Rambo reminded members the resolution can take up to a week to prepare.
Matherly asked GIS Specialist Chris Pape if there have been a lot of changes in the constables.
Pape said there will be three districts; it’s just a matter of deciding how to divide them.
Commissioner Roger Nave moved to keep the number at nine and Commissioner Mark Ferguson seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
While the Washington County Board of Education currently has nine members, it could be increased to 10, Rambo said.
Nave made a motion to continue with nine school board members. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Ben Bowman and passed unanimously.
Constables and school board members will be invited to the next Redistricting Committee meeting scheduled for Monday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m.
Follow-up meetings were scheduled for Monday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m., and Thursday, Nov. 17, at 6:30 p.m.
“We’re getting down to the final days,” Matherly said. “These meetings provide three opportunities for input and time to work out the concerns before taking (the plan) to the commission.”