Thursday, April 24, 2014

Redistricting changes mean new commissioners for some residents

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 2/5/2014

A few members of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners are being shuffled around.

Commissioners voted Wednesday morning to approve redistricting changes that are to be reconsidered every three years to ensure districts are as evenly populated as possible.

A few members of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners are being shuffled around.

Commissioners voted Wednesday morning to approve redistricting changes that are to be reconsidered every three years to ensure districts are as evenly populated as possible.

To do so, the county used the 2010 census data to show average populations in each of the five districts the county commission seats represent, Janet Paddock, Franklin County clerk, said.

“We’re effectively pushing some population up from where commissioner [Rick] Howard is [2nd District] into commissioner [Colton] Waymire’s [1st District],” Paddock said. “Similar numbers [of population] would go out of Waymire’s district and into [commissioner Roy] Dunn’s district.”

The redistricting changes take place from the 8th precinct to the 7th precinct and would be from Olive Street to Main Street and 10th to 11th Street, Paddock said. There are eight precincts that make up the City of Ottawa, she added, and five commission districts.

“The other one moving is from the 2nd precinct to the 1st precinct starts at Spruce Street, which is where you turn to go to GreatLife [Golf and Fitness], and then it goes up about a block to turn onto Hemlock and it goes along Hemlock to Wilson Street and then Wilson to the city limits. From K-68 at Spruce down to Davis and includes both sides of the street, just past Davis Road and then extends to city limits.”

The small change in commission districts will impact the location some community members are stationed to vote, Paddock said, as well as some community members being represented by a different commissioner.

“It will change the [voting location] for people moving from the 8th precinct to the 7th precinct,” she said. “That eight blocks of people, they’ll be the only change. The people in the north won’t change because the 1st and 2nd precinct vote at the same place.

“The people from Olive to Main and 10th to 11th would then have instead of Howard, would be represented by commissioner Waymire,” she said. “Up near the golf course they’d go from [being represented by] commissioner Waymire to commissioner Dunn.”

As well as moving some district lines, the commission voted to combine Ottawa Precinct 4 and Ottawa Precinct 5, which will just be known as Ottawa Precinct 4 from now on, according to the resolution passed by commissioners, leaving only seven precincts instead of the previous eight.

The precincts will still be numbered one through eight, Paddock said, with Precinct 5 being skipped.

District 1 now will consist of Second Precinct, Ottawa City; Sixth Precinct, Ottawa City; Seventh Precinct, Ottawa City. District 2 now will consist of Eighth Precinct, Ottawa City; Lincoln Township; Homewood Township; Richmond Township; Williamsburg Township. District 3 now will consist of First Precinct, Ottawa City; Appanoose Township; Centropolis Township; Greenwood Township; Hayes Township; Pomona Township; Ottawa Township. District 4 now will consist of: Third Precinct, Ottawa City; Fourth Precinct, Ottawa City; Harrison Township; Ohio Township. District 5 now will consist of Cutler Township; Franklin Township; Peoria Township; Pottawatomie Township.

Three commission seats are up for re-election in 2014, Paddock said. The 1st District currently held by Waymire; the 4th District, currently held by Steve Harris; and the 5th District, currently held by Don Stottlemire, she said. All three of filed to run again.

With the primary elections in August and the general election in November, it was essential the redistricting changes be approved now, Paddock said.

“It’s important we do it now because we have three commissioners up for election in the primary [election] in August,” she said. “Waymire’s district would be effected [by the redistricting change] so we need to get it squared away.”

Community members won’t be notified of voting place changes until the Secretary of State’s Office has approved the changes, Paddock said.

To see the changes made to the commission districts, look at these maps:

http://www.franklin.kansasgis.com/PrintMaps/images/VOTER_PRECINCTS.PDF

http://www.franklin.kansasgis.com/PrintMaps/images/OTTAWA_VOTER_PRECINCTS.PDF

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